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DUKE UNIVERSITY 



LIBRARY 



The Glenn Negley Collection 
of Utopian Literature 



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littp://www.arcliive.org/details/islandofslieepOObucli 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



THE 

ISLAND OF SHEEP 



BY 
CADMUS AND HARMONIA 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

The Riverside Press Cambridge 
1920 



COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
ALL RIGHTS RESBRVBD 






THE PEOPLE IN THE BOOK 

Colonel Arthur Lamont 
and his wife .... The host and hostess 

Phyllis Their niece 

The Kev. John Macmillan Minister of the Parish 



The Lady Guidwillie of 
Waucht A Highland landovmer 

Mr. James Burford . . A Labour ex-Member of 

Parliament 

The Lady Sevenoaks . . Wife of a former Liberal 

Minister 

Mr, Albert Wyper . . A progressive journalist 

The Lady Penelope 
Wyper His wife 

Mrs. Martha Lavender . An American resident in 

England 

Mrs. Ursula Aspenden . A lady given to good works 

Mr, Christopher Nor- 
MAND A Conservative 

Sir William Jacob . . A Liberal lawyer 



vi \TEE PEOPLE IN THE BOOK 



Mr. George Stanbury- 
Maldwin . . . , 



Late of the Grenadier 
Guards 



Mr. Penrose MacAndrew Lieutenant in the Third 

United States Army 



Mr. D. C. Jonas . , 
Mr. Philip Lenchard 



A Labour Leader 
An Imperialist 



General Ferdinand Mo- Lately commanding an 

RiER Army of France^ 

Mr. Archibald Strath- A Coalition Member cf 

BXJNGO Parliament 

Mr. Merryweather Ma- 

lone An American politician 



The Lord Linkumdoddib A Captain of industry 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



Prologue, in which two retired gentlefolk are distressed 
about the future of their country. To them enter the Lady 
Guidwillie and Mr. Burford. 

In a pleasant arbour looking down on spring 
meadows which sloped towards the western 
sea, a gentleman was reading aloud from 
Matthew Arnold. " The sunshine in the happy 
glens is fair," he read. 

"And by the sea, and in the brakes. 
The grass is cool, the seaside air 
Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers 
More virginal and sweet than ours. 
And there, they say, two bright and aged snakes, 
That once were Cadmus and Harmonia, 
Bask in the glens or on the warm sea shore, 
In breathless quiet, after all their ills." 

He looked up from his book. "Singularly 
like us, my dear," he observed to his wife. 

"Yes, darhng," she repUed. "I feel aged, 
but not very bright." 



4 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Colonel Lamont rose, revealing six feet of 
lean manhood clad in the most ancient of 
tweeds. He stared for some minutes at the 
delectable landscape beneath him. A shallow 
glen, seamed by a shining river, wound to a 
pale-blue ocean. It was bright with the young 
grass of May, and patched with snowdrifts 
of blossoming hawthorn. There was no sound 
in the valley except the ripple of the stream 
and the faint calling of curlews from the hill. 

"I've been looking forward to this for four 
years," he said. "Peace, you know — the real 
peace in one's own place among one's own 
people. And now that I have got it I don't 
seem properly to enjoy it. There are too many 
empty houses in the glens. Too many good 
fellows who will never gilhe for me more. 
And this old world has got such a twist that 
I can't see it setthng down in our time. I wish 
to Heaven I knew where we all stood. Kathie, 
my dear, I am feeling very much older, and I 
am losing my nerve." 

The lady looked at him with troubled eyes. 
**Do you think we ought to be entertaining 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 5 

on such a big scale, Arthur, if we are so much 
poorer?" 

** Confound it, my dear, it is not the money. 
Jennings went through my position with me 
yesterday, and we are still pretty well off. I 
would n't mind paying fifteen shillings in the 
pound in taxes for the rest of my days. No. 
It is the country I am worrying about. Here 
we have gone and sacrificed the better part 
of a million of our picked men, and crippled 
hundreds of thousands more for fife. And for 
what.'* We have won, of course, but we don't 
seem to know what we 've won. Those damned 
politicians are at the job again. I thought we 
had washed all that out." 

"And Bolshevism, dear!" said his wife. 

"And every little faction on the globe want- 
ing to turn itself into a State!" 

"And our own Labour people so discon- 
tented!" 

"And all this business of the League of 
Nations! How on earth are we going to give 
up our Navy and trust the fortunes of Britain 
to a collection of Kilkenny cats?" 



6 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"It's very puzzling, dear. And Agatha 
writes me such miserable letters about Regi- 
nald. He's simply wretched at being out of 
Parliament, and she has had to change her 
cook twice since Christmas." 

This amoebean plaint was interrupted by 
the appearance of a young woman. She was a 
pretty, fair-haired creature, with eyes too old 
and too tragic for her years; yet even the Kst- 
lessness of her walk and the sombre black of 
her dress could not muffle the grace of her 
youth. She carried a telegram, which her aimt 
opened. 

"Martha is coming by to-morrow's boat," 
Mrs. Lamont announced. "How very fortu- 
nate! I hope you will like Martha Lavender, 
Phyllis. She is so buoyant and kind and 
American and devoted to Arthur. Without 
her I do not think I could have faced Jeanne 
Sevenoaks." 

The young girl showed only a conventional 
interest. 

"Who are the others.'^" she asked. 

"Nobody young, I fear. You see there are 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 7 

so few young men nowadays; only boys. 
There are the Wypers — Albert and Pen. 
Pen is Arthur's niece, you know, and she 
wrote and said they both wanted a rest.'* 

Colonel Lamont snorted. 

"I wish she were coming by herself. 'Pon 
my word, Kathie, I don't find it easy to be 
civil to Wyper. He patronises me so infer- 
nally." 

"Well, he has lost his seat now, and prob- 
ably he is quite humble. We must be nice to 
him for Pen's sake. Then" — counting on her 
fingers — "there is Sir William Jacob. Jeanne 
told me to ask him, and he has been at Oban 
on some Land Commission. The great lawyer, 
you know, my dear." 

"I don't know," said PhyUis. "And besides 
him?" 

"There's Ursula Aspenden. You must like 
her. So good and charitable, and oh! so 
pretty." 

"I scarcely know her," said the girl. 

"There's Christopher Normand." 

"I hke him," said Phyllis emphatically. 



8 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"He was a friend of Charlie's. How awful for 
him to be fairly young and healthy and the 
best shot in England and yet not to be allowed 
to fight because of his lameness! That would 
have driven me mad, Aunt Kathie.** 

"Well, dear," — and the older woman 
patted the girl's hand, — "you must be very 
kind to him. Poor Kit! His mother was such 
a joy to me till she went mad about religion. 
That's the lot, I think. Except, of course, 
Margaret Guidwillie." 

"Thank God, she is coming," Colonel 
Lamont said fervently. "She has a tongue 
that would take the skin off a rhino, but I 
would sooner have her at my back in a row 
than any ten men. She ought to be here for 
tea, for she is coming by the ferry from Rona. 
I sent the wagonette to meet her." 

The girl seemed unsatisfied. "Did n't Uncle 
Arthur say something about a Labour 
Member.?" 

"Oh, my dear, I forgot. Yes, he is one of 
Martha's friends. He has been very ill and 
recruiting in Scotland. His name" — and she 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 9 

consulted a small address-book in her bag — 
"is James Burford, Martha calls him 'Jim- 
mie,* and often 'My Jimmie.'" 

"I must confess that the thought of him 
makes me confoundedly nervous," said Colo- 
nel Lamont. "I don't a bit trust Martha 
Lavender's judgment. You remember when 
she planted me with a young Hindu who was 
some beastly kind of a god. The fellow may be 
as spiky as a hedgehog, if he is not as mad as 
a hatter. I never met a Labour Member in my 
life." 

"He is not a Member," said his wife. "He 
was beaten by ten thousand votes by the man 
who makes all the potted meats. Martha says 
he is a saint." 

"A what!" exclaimed Mr. Burford's pro- 
spective host in dire alarm. 

Then he turned and gazed at the grass 
slopes beyond the sunk fence, for some one 
was making his way towards them from that 
quarter. The stranger was obviously out of 
breath and took a long time to cross the ha-ha. 
Then he caught sight of the house and stood 



10 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

blinking at it, till he became conscious of the 
presence of people in the arbour. 

As he turned towards them Colonel Lamont 
saw a squarely built man of about thirty-five, 
with a broad, cheerful face. Short-sighted blue 
eyes peered through horn spectacles, and a 
thatch of untidy hair was revealed, since he 
had removed his hat to cool his brow. He was 
curiously dressed for that part of the world, 
wearing a black coat and a bowler hat. In his 
hand he carried a small kit-bag, which he 
dumped on the gravel walk. 

"Is it Colonel Lamont.''" he asked, beam- 
ing at the party in the arbour. 

*'I am James Burford, sir,** he continued. 
"I was due to come to-morrow, but the 
weather was so fine that I got a small boat to 
put me over to Kylanish and I walked the 
rest. It 's a bit of an intrusion, but you know 
what we city folks are like when we get on 
holiday." 

He spoke in a soft West-Midland voice with 
a slurring of "s's" and a shght burr iA the 
"r's"; and he looked so friendly and boylike 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 11 

as he made his apologies that his three hearers 
vied with each other in declaring their pleas- 
ure at the sight of him. 

Presently across the lawn came the butler, 
followed by a footman and a parlourmaid with 
the materials of tea. Ere Mrs. Lamont had 
poured out a single cup the butler appeared 
again, ushering another guest, at the sight of 
whom Colonel Lamont leaped to his feet in a 
fervour of welcome. 

The newcomer was a tall lady clad in a dark- 
green tartan skirt, a tweed coat, and a well- 
worn leather hat. She might have been any 
age between forty and sixty, for her face bore 
the marks rather of weather than of time. In 
her big, gauntleted hands she swung a stick 
like a shepherd's crook, and her walk was that 
of one more familiar with the moors than the 
pavements. Mr. Burford once again removed 
his bowler as he was presented to the Lady 
Guidwillie of Waucht. 

"Tea, as you love me, Kathie," she said. 
*' I 've got an appetite like a hunter," and, seiz- 
ing two buttered scones, she began her meal. 



12 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Colonel Lamont detained the retreating 
butler. "What about your luggage, Mr. 
Burford?" he asked. 

"It's all here," said that gentleman, hand- 
ing over his little bag. "I'm one that travels 
light." 

"You know something about food, Kathie," 
observed Lady Guidwillie when she had 
taken the edge off her hunger. 

"I hope you don't think it wicked to have 
tea in the old-fashioned way," said the hostess 
to Mr. Burford. "We cut off cream and sugar 
and cakes during the war, but Arthur made 
me have them back again." 

"And quite right too. I am not going to 
let the war or anything else come between 
me and a good tea." 

Lady Guidwillie regarded him with curi- 
osity mingled with approval. He had suddenly 
risen and was staring towards the west, where 
a very beautiful golden shimmer lay on the 
sea. "That beats cock-fighting," was his trib- 
ute. Then he announced his wish to get to 
higher ground to see what lay behind a certain 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 13 

woody cape, and Phyllis was commandeered 
to show him the road. 

**Who on earth is he?" asked Lady Guid- 
willie, as soon as the two were out of earshot. 

"A Labour Member," said Mrs. Lamont. 
"At least he was before the last election. He 
is a friend of Martha Lavender. She says he 's 
a saint." 

"Let me hear what sort of menagerie you 
have brought me into. I have been so bored 
at Waucht that I want to go into society. 
First, who are the women? I think you told 
me that Martha was coming?" 

"By to-morrow's boat. You like her, don't 
you, Margaret?" 

"I love her. What is her latest form of mis- 
chief-making?" 

"Oh, I don't agree. She never makes mis- 
chief. She is always on the side of the angels." 

"The elves, you mean. Her father didn't 
make a fortune in the Chicago wheat-pit. Her 
father was Puck, and she follows him in put- 
ting a girdle round the earth. Next?" 
^"Ursula Aspenden." 



14 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"Kind and silly. I make it my business to 
shock her on every possible occasion." 

"And Jeanne Sevenoaks." 

"I retire. She'll do tlie shocking. \Miy does 
she insist upon being called Jeanne.' Her good 
father christened her Jane. He was a most 
excellent man who used to take one of Guid- 
willie's moors and made a great deal of money 
in floorcloth somewhere near Falkirk. . . . 
Arthur, I hear you are getting peevish. You 
are not like Doris Cranlegh, I hope, who 
thinks that the war has been fought in vain 
because she can't get under-housemaids.'*" 

Colonel Lamont smiled down on his old 
friend. 

"I don't think I am peevish, but I am a 
little out of my bearings. We all are. I want 
something extra fine to come out of the busi- 
ness when the price has been so high. You see, 
I cannot bear to think that our best have died 
except for the very best." 

"No," said Lady Guidwillie, in what for 
her was a very gentle tone. "No, that is not 
to be borne." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 15 

"And since the whole nation has suffered, 
every one must feel the same." 

"Has the whole nation suffered? Some have 
led very sheltered lives. Our own class has 
paid nobly, and the poor, and the lower mid- 
dle class most of all. The little tradesmen and 
professional men, I mean. But there have 
been big ugly patches of embusquSs and profit- 
eers, and I do not see why the working-classes 
at home should take so much credit to them- 
selves. They worked hard, no doubt, but they 
were never in danger and had mighty fine 
wages, while the soldiers flirted witli death 
for a shilling a day. I wonder what your black- 
coated friend says to that.'^" 

Mr. Burford and Phyllis were returning. 
As he reached the arbour a footman ap- 
proached and asked him for his keys. 

"Never had any," he said cheerily. "The 
old bag's got a broken lock." 



n 

In which the ears of the company are assailed by sundry 
political phrases. 

Lady Sevenoaks and Mrs. Lavender on the 
evening of their arrival were walking on the 
south terrace awaiting the summons of the 
dressing-bell. They were a remarkable con- 
trast, the first tall, slim, and golden-haired, 
with somewhat languid blue eyes, the second 
dark and small and alert as a linnet. Both 
were libertines in speech, the one with a tal- 
ent for epigrammatic extravagance, the other 
shrewd and racy as one of her husband's cow- 
punchers. That gentleman, indeed, was wont 
to remark that he would back his Martha to 
talk down a Democratic caucus, and that if 
her old-time namesake of the Scriptures had 
been Hke her, he reckoned Mary would have 
quit business. 

** Martha, darling,** said Lady Sevenoaks, 
"did you ever — ever in your life — see such 



1 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 17 

a collection as Kathie has got together? Her 
parties were always Hke a table d'hote^ but this 
beats — how do you say it, darhng?'* 

*'The band," said Mrs. Lavender. 

**It is so difficult for me, you know, feeling 
as I do about George's career and the shame- 
ful way he has been treated. Wilham Jacob, 
of course, is a true friend. But it was Wyper 
and his horrid cranks that wrecked our party. 
And the Labour man — Bunyan, is n't it? — 
I know just how unpleasant he will be, talking 
nonsense about the triumph of Democracy 
and exulting in the destruction of what he 
calls the Old Gang." 

" Jimmie was beat himself," said the other. 
**And he never exults. It is n't in his nature. 
You had better be nice about Jimmie, my 
dear, or you will rouse the lurking savage in 
me. Remember I'm only one generation re- 
moved from the pioneer.'* 

*'Well, if he won't exult, Margaret Guid- 
willie will. I can see it in her rude old eyes. 
Some day soon I shall detest her. Poor Guid- 
willie! She never appreciated him. He died of 



18 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

a surfeit of haggis and brown sherry — such 
an odd death, darhng, but so characteristic. 
George always loved dining with him.'* 

"She is the only woman in the world," said 
Mrs. Lavender, "that I think I am a Uttle 
afraid of. Your grand dames don't worry me 
a httle bit. They're always acting stylish, 
and if you kick away their httle pedestal they 
look foohsh. But she's so sure of herself that 
she never wants to be anybody else. Twenty 
generations of cold northeasters and high- 
handed economy and the Presbyterian rehgion 
give a woman something to stand on. I feel 
new and raw before her, like a small, impudent 
Israelite looking up at the walls of Jericho." 

At that moment the dressing-bell sounded, 
and as the two ladies moved upstairs they en- 
countered Mr. Albert Wyper. He carried an 
attache case and several weekly papers. He had 
a soft, shapeless face, a humourless eye, and 
an untidy person. 

"I have found a new theory of Democracy 
in a French review," he said, "and am writing 
a letter to the New Republic on the subject. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 19 

It may interest you, Lady Sevenoaks, for one 
of your husband's speeches is the text." 

"Martha," said that lady at her bedroom 
door, "this is a very fooHsh world. When I 
was a young girl Democracy meant the Lib- 
eral majority, and was chiefly mentioned in 
the House of Lords. Then the Labour Party 
discovered the word and it came to mean the 
Poor. Now it stands for everything which any 
speaker likes and agrees with. If we had come 
in, we should have been triumphant Democ- 
racy; as it is we are efiFete aristocrats whom 
the Democrats of Carlton House Terrace and 
Eccleston Square are going to slay. I wish we 
could go back to Whig and Tory. They were 
prettier words and meant something. I know 
they will all talk about Democracy at dinner 
and I shall be quite unwell." 

But at dinner the high, clear voice of Mrs. 
Aspenden discoursed of history. 

"I have been reading all about this place," 
she announced. "Do you know that St. Bran- 
dan came here on his great voyage.'^ It is his 
Island of Sheep, where he found the lamb for 



20 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the Paschal sacrifice. There is a beautiful pas- 
sage about it translated out of some old Latin 
chronicle. He sailed, you remember, out of 
tempestuous seas and came suddenly to a 
green isle of peace with sheep feeding among 
the meadows. And long after him the monks 
had their cells on the west shore, looking out 
to the sunset. Who can tell me more about 
it?" 

"You had better talk to Mr. Macmillan," 
said the host. "He is the minister, and you'll 
hear him preach to-morrow.'* 

"He is the great scholar of these parts,'* 
Lady Guidwillie volunteered. "But he's not 
very interested in the monks. He prefers the 
ruffians from whom I descended — the North-_ 
men who came down on the islands and 
cleared out the saints." 

"How horrible!" said Mrs. Aspenden. **It 
sounds as if he were a Prussian.'* 

Colonel Lamont laughed. "He'd be amused 
if you told him that. In the war he was chap- 
lain to one of the Cameron battalions, and he 
used to go over the top with the men and lay 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 21 

about him. He's a good man of his hands, 
Macmillan." 

Mr. Christopher Normand was sitting next 
to Lady Sevenoaks. He was a strongly built 
man of forty-five, whose clean-shaven face 
had the high gloss given by much open air 
and a good digestion. But for his lameness he 
was a fine figure of masculine strength. A curi- 
ous sadness in his eye and a delicacy about 
the mouth and chin softened the impression 
of vigour given by his bodily presence, and 
his brow was rather that of a scholar and 
dreamer than of a Yorkshire hunting squire. 

"I like the story," he said to his neighbour. 
"To come out of stormy seas to a green isle 
of quietness! It is what we are all seeking. 
Democracy is a great and wonderful thing, 
but it does not make for peace." 

"There!" exclaimed Lady Sevenoaks. "I 
knew it. Already we have reached that odious 
subject." 

"Which?" asked the man. "Peace or De- 
mocracy?" 

"She means Democracy," said Mrs. Lav- 



22 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ender. "Jeanne is sore about it, for it has 
jilted her." 

"My dear Jane," said Lady Guidwillie, 
"it is you who are inconstant. Six years ago 
the word was never out of your mouth. When- 
ever your party was in a hole, you declared 
it was fighting the battle of Democracy. 
When you were told that you had lost the 
support of sensible people, you said that any- 
how Democracy was on your side. You once 
announced, I remember, that triumphant 
Democracy would make short work of people 
like me. . . . Surely the thing can't have 
changed so utterly in six years." 

Lady Sevenoaks raised her languid eyehds. 

"It has. Then it meant something. Now it 
means precisely what a few thousand different 
people choose to make it mean. It is democ- 
racy to make Germany pay all our bills, and 
democracy to forgive our enemies. It is demo- 
cratic to establish new nationalities, and demo- 
cratic to get rid of nationality altogether. 
The whole of political debate nowadays is one 
welter of crudities and contradictions." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 23 

The fine voice of Sir William Jacob was 
heard. "We must stick to proved definitions. 
For me it has been defined once and for all by 
Lincoln — government of the people, by the 
people, for the people." 

"An idle dream," said Mr. Normand. "Of 
the people — yes. For the people — perhaps 
in good time, when we have hanged a few 
score political arrivistes. But by the people — 
never. Government is an expert business, hke 
any other science. You can choose your ad- 
ministrators from any class, but they will still 
be a sect apart. You can no more give all the 
people a share in the practice of government 
than you can make them all their own den- 
tists." 

Mr. Wyper's eye brightened, for this kind 
of discussion was after his own heart. 

"That is an old difficulty, but it seems to 
me to rest in a confusion of thought. The peo- 
ple reign, but they do not govern except at 
intervals. No. I don't mean General Elections. 
Three fourths of administration they are con- 
tent to entrust to their chosen representatives 



24 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

without much supervision. But in greater 
matters and the things which affect them 
deeply, they exercise, and should exercise, a 
direct control through many channels. Our 
business is to devise a machinery of govern- 
ment which will make this direct control easy 
and exact at the proper moments. ... I do 
not complain of the last election. A nation is 
entitled to its hour of pique and prejudice as I 
am permitted an occasional fit of bad temper.'* 

"Democracy, then, may be Tory and Rad- 
ical and Socialist by turns and yet remain 
Democracy?" asked Mr. Normand. 

"Certainly." 

"It is a comforting doctrine for the politi- 
cian. But we ordinary folk want something 
more. We want it to be wise. What is the good 
of making the world safe for something called 
Democracy unless that thing is worthy of 
safety? We are too much concerned with ma- 
chinery for doing this or that, and we do not 
stop to consider whether this or that is worth 
doing. We are very German, you know." 

"Surely," said Sir WilUam Jacob, "it is 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 25 

worth doing — to make the will of the people 
prevail." 

"I don't see why, unless it is a good will 
and a reasonable will. If it is bad and unjust 
I want to put every obstacle in the way of its 
prevailing." 

Sir WiUiam laughed. **So that is your Tory 
Democracy, my dear Normand. It is you who 
are the Prussian. You are prepared to let the 
people govern only if they behave as superior 
persons direct them. That is not my notion of 
hberty." 

Christopher Normand demurred. "The 
sovereignty of the people is a fact, and only 
a fool would try to upset it. But I don't see 
why it should be necessarily a good thing. It 
may be extraordinarily muddle-headed and 
perverse, if the people are foolish. That's my 
objection to the common eulogists of Democ- 
racy. The system is the best or the worst ac- 
cording to the way it is worked, but it has no 
intrinsic guarantee of goodness. When it's 
good it's very very good, and when it is bad 
it's horrid." 



26 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Burford had so far not spoken a word, 
but had eaten his dinner with much content- 
ment. Now he observed that it was high time 
pohticians stopped being mealy-mouthed 
about the People. "We can't get on," he said, 
"without a bit of rough-tonguing when we 
deserve it. There's been a deal too much of 
the cap-in-hand business. Working-folk don't 
like it." 

"I sat for a great working-class constitu- 
ency for many years," said Sir William. "I 
found they responded most readily to any 
appeal to their higher instincts. . . . But I 
confess that these higher instincts seem for 
the moment to be submerged." 

"Not a bit of it," said Mrs. Lavender.. 
"They're out on a bust. It does them good 
to kick up their heels now and then, the same 
as you and me.'* 

The picture of Sir Wilham Jacob kicking up 
his heels in the company of Mrs. Lavender 
was too much for the gravity of Mr. Burford. 
He laughed merrily, but there was no response 
from the other guests. Lady Sevenoaks was 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 27 

fretful, Mr. Normand sunk in apparently 
painful meditations, Mr. Wyper cross, and 
Sir William abstracted, while the host and 
hostess had had their worst fears confirmed 
by the preceding conversation. Dinner ended 
in a mood of dismal resignation to fate. 

In the drawing-room later Mr. Burford sat 
beside Phyllis. 

"I hate everybody's pessimism," said the 
girl. 

"They ain't pessimistic," said the man. 
" They 're only puzzled. You see, none of them 
have been fighting, except the Colonel." 

"But you're cheerful, and you weren't 
fighting." 

"No," he said sadly, "I wasn't. They 
would n't have me even for a Base job. My 
eyesight's nothing to boast of." 

"And yet you don't stand aside and pro- 
phesy darkly about the People, as if they were 
some new kind of influenza." 

"I'd have to get outside my skin to do it," 
he said, tilting up his spectacles and peering 
at her with his curious, merry eyes. "I'm one 



28 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

of them, just an ordinary sample of the forty 
million working-folk they're so scared at. 
You would n't ask me to get scared at my- 
self?'* 



Ill 

An Island Sabbath morning. The Minister of the Parish 
mounts the chaire de verite. Two young men and a 
Labour leader enliven a depressed gathering. 

The Sabbath morning dawned blue and shin- 
ing, with that dehcate, clear Hght which is 
found only in an island set amid miles of sea. 
A light wind came from the mainland, bring- 
ing scents of spring. Under ordinary circum- 
stances Colonel Lamont would have been in 
good spirits and would have whistled his one 
tune, *'Auld Lang Syne," while dressing, but 
the memory of the depression of the previous 
evening weighed him down. 

"We've got a nice collection of Job's com- 
forters," he informed his wife. 

"I can't understand it," was the plaintive 
reply. "Even Ursula, who used to be so sweet, 
is difficult." 

"Burford is the only fellow who is n't afraid 
to laugh. I like him immensely. He reminds 



30 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

me of an old collie my father had when I was 
a child. Same jolly, trusty eyes." 

"I think Jeanne is in a very bad temper,'* 
said his wife. "Poor darling, she has much to 
try her. But she really is very rude. Ursula 
was telling us about the Havering engage- 
ment, and said they were touchingly happy. 
Jeanne said in her gentlest voice, which always 
frightens me, 'Yes, I saw them last week 
lunching at the Ritz. As happy as two little 
birds. And such ugly little birds, dear.'" 

So tonic was the air, however, that the com- 
pany at breakfast were in better spirits. Mr. 
Burford, who had been early abroad, had 
some colour in his face, and his stubborn 
thatch of hair was in more than its usual 
disorder. 

Mrs. Aspenden had a grievance. The night 
before she had inquired as to the whereabouts 
of the church, and, being uninstructed in the 
theological differences of her country, had set 
out according to custom for early service. She 
had been sadly disappointed. 

*'I found a square building hke a furniture 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 81 

repository," she complained. "It was locked, 
and there was nobody about except a man in 
a garden, a man in his shirt-sleeves smoking 
a pipe." 

"That would be Macmillan," said Colonel 
Lamont. 

"The parson!" exclaimed Mrs. Aspenden 
in horror. "Why wasn't his church open, if 
only that one might pray in it?" 

"Dear Ursula is very High," whispered 
Lady Sevenoaks to her neighbour, who hap- 
pened to be Mr. Wyper. "She finds spiritual 
consolation in attending private theatricals 
before breakfast." Mr. Wyper, who professed 
agnosticism, received this piece of irreverence 
with sympathy. 

"I did a bit of praying myself," said Mr. 
Burford. "But I did it on the lawn. You don't 
want churches on a May morning." 

It was weather which did not permit of 
lethargy, and when the Lamonts appeared 
equipped for church they found among their 
guests an unexpected desire to accompany 
them. Even Mr. Wyper set down his attache 



32 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

case, from whicli he was rarely separated, and 
looked for his hat. Lady Sevenoaks was late 
and was therefore compelled to accompany 
Mrs. Aspenden, who was driven by her con- 
science to attend some place of worship in 
spite of the irregularities of the smoking 
parson. 

The minister was a man of fifty-five, short 
in stature, black-bearded, and as strong as a 
Highland bull. His battered, brown complex- 
ion and far-sighted grey eyes gave him the 
air of a deep-sea skipper masquerading as a 
landsman. He was a bachelor who had led a 
peaceful life of honest parochial work, varied 
with excursions into scholarship and fishing 
whenever fish were to be caught, till the war 
had swept him to France for four strenuous 
years. His voice, as happens sometimes with 
such a figure, was one of great sweetness and 
melody, and he spoke pure English with a soft 
GaeHc intonation. 

In the bare little kirk, through whose plain 
glass windows might be seen the wheeling of 
gulls and plovers on the moor, there was but 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 33 

a slender congregation. Most waited for the 
Gaelic service in the afternoon, for Mr. Mac- 
millan's English discourses were sometimes 
hard for his parishioners to understand. The 
big sheep-farmer from Lith, having had a 
heavy week at Oban, was soon asleep. The 
family from the Xylanish inn had new clothes 
and sat in self-conscious pride; the innkeeper's 
son, late of the Argylls, was self-conscious too, 
for he was a hero just returned to his native 
land. A few fishermen and herds made up the 
rest of the flock, save for Colonel Lamont's 
party. 

Mr. Macmillan, taking as his text the First 
Epistle of St. Peter, the first chapter, the 
twelfth verse, and the last clause of the verse, 
*' Which things the angels desire to look into," 
discoursed upon the present discontents and 
asked questions. 

Every one, he said, knew roughly for what 
we had been fighting. We had been resisting 
Germany's claim to impose her will upon the 
world. We should have been right in our oppo- 
sition, even had that will been a good will; but 



34 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

as a matter of fact it was in the main a bad 
will. That point, at any rate, was clear. 

But now came the difficulty. We were in 
danger of labelling every part of Germany's 
creed as evil and of affirming as our own creed 
the direct opposite. For example — 

Germany stood for the super-nationality, 
the big coordinating union of peoples. Bad, 
no doubt, as she conceived it. But was the 
principle wrong .^^ The alternative was a chaos 
of feeble statelets based on trivial differences 
— economically weak, politically unstable. 
Were we prepared to put all the emphasis on 
self-determination.'* If we did, we should not 
get freedom, but anarchy. We should undo the 
long work of civilisation. 

Again, Germany stood in an arrogant and 
offensive way for nationality itself, fidelity, 
as Burke said, to the platoon in which men 
are born. We entered the war for the same 
principle, because Germany had pressed hers 
so far that it had become incompatible with 
the existence of any other nationalism. But 
some of the opposition to Germany came from 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 35 

people to whom the whole notion of nation- 
ality was repugnant. During the war we made 
a pet of the extreme German Socialists who 
would divide the world horizontally by classes. 
Let us beware lest in opposing Germany's 
foolish exaggeration we denied a doctrine 
which lay at the root of civilisation, and allied 
ourselves with civilisation's arch enemies. 
"Non tali auxilio," said Mr. Macmillan. 

Lastly, Germany stood for something not 
wholly material or base. She had an ideal, 
cross-grained and perverted in the hearts of 
many of her classes, but amongst simple folk 
capable of affording an honest inspiration. 
At its worst it was something not utterly 
without moral value, something which in- 
volved renunciation and sacrifice. It was 
nobler than mere loaves and fishes. She be- 
lieved in the historic state, enriched with the 
long-descended gifts of time, though in her 
folly she mistook the mechanical for the or- 
ganic. But were there no mechanists among 
her opponents.'* There were those, even in 
Britain, who sought to defeat Germany only 



36 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

to replace her blunder by one of their own — 
to set up a British or American or French 
world-mechanism instead of a Teutonic. The 
selfish rich on the one side and the crude 
demagogue on the other both dreamed of a 
Prussianism not a whit nobler and far less 
well-considered than Germany's. "For God's 
sake," said the preacher, "do not let us for- 
sake the complex legacy of the past, with its 
equipoise and balance and deep foundations, 
for a jerry-built usurpation of some raw new 
class. Let us oppose Germany's darkness, not 
her gleams of light. Those who would base 
the world on a shallow Marxian materialism 
are more Prussian than the Prussians. The 
Junker creed has more ideahsm than the 
Spartacist, and the Russians who fought for 
a corrupt czardom were better men than the 
Bolsheviks who fight for their own pockets.'* 
Mr. Macmillan, conscious of an honourable 
record in the war, thus paid his tribute to our 
late enemies. Himself a determined Calvinist, 
he now said a good word for the Church of 
Rome. 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 37 

"I have no particular weakness for the 
Vatican," he observed; "but, again, let us 
fight against darkness and not against light. 
The Roman Church stands for much which 
the world dare not lose. We have been irri- 
tated by its apparent weakness and time- 
serving, but let us consider its strength. It is 
for the historic bequest of Europe against 
crude novelties, for a spiritual interpretation 
of life against a barren utilitarianism, for 
dogma and ascertained truth against the 
opportunist, the sciolist, and the half-baked. 
Those of us who believe in God cannot do 
without its aid. By all means let us condemn 
its blunders in diplomacy and politics, but do 
not let us abuse it as a dead hand on a living 
world. For, if it is dead, then the world also 
is dying." 

"I appeal to you," he concluded, "to culti- 
vate honesty and scrupulousness of mind. In 
the present welter of ideas we may drift 
towards false gods. If we make our creed the 
exact opposite of all that Germany strove for, 
then without doubt we shall slip into a worse 



38 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

kind of Germanism, shoddier, narrower, falser 
than that which we have fought in the field. 
Let us try to forget political tactics and do a 
little serious thinking about principles." 

This appeal had no effect upon the sheep- 
farmer from Lith, who slumbered through it, 
or on the young ladies from the inn, who did 
not understand it. The native congregation 
were waiting for the good gospel in Gaelic in 
the afternoon. But Colonel Lamont's party 
listened with an attention which few of them 
had been in the habit of according to a sermon. 

As they walked home by the white moor- 
road, Mrs. Lavender approached her hostess. 

"Tell me, Kathie dear, when are the boys 
coming? You said you expected George Maid- 
win and my little cousin Penrose." 

"They should be here after dinner. They 
get a boat from Rona. George was to motor 
there this morning." 

"I hope you won't mind, but I asked Pen- 
rose to bring on D. C. Jonas. He was in Glas- 
gow for an engineers' conference, and I 
thought he would be the better for your sea 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 39 

breezes. Besides, I want you all to see him. 
An hour or two of Dan will do you highbrows 
a deal of good." 

Mrs. Lamont wrinkled her brows as if per- 
sonally affected by the word. "Delighted, my 
dear. But won't he make us more depressed.'^ 
Jeanne is so angry with the Labour people, 
and none of us seem to be in the best of 
spirits." 

"Oh, Dan won't depress you," said Mrs. 
Lavender. "He'll cheer you up. We need it 
too, for Jimmie is no earthly use. He's so 
happy here that he talks no more than a 
graven image." 

Luncheon was a silent meal, and thereafter, 
when the party sorted itself into groups for 
the afternoon walk, Christopher Normand 
chose a book from the library and settled him- 
self with it in the arbour. He was in a sad, 
reflective mood, and the work, which was the 
"Homilies" of St. Gregory the Great, fitted 
his temper. He found one sentence in it which 
so pleased him that he transcribed it into a 
notebook. "If we yet love such a world as 



40 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

this, it is not joys but wounds that we 
love." 

Mr. Normand about tea-time had come to 
the conclusion, from the examination of his 
own mind, that at the moment there was a 
deplorable lack of good-humour in the world. 
His conclusion was not weakened by the re- 
turn of the walking parties. Lady Sevenoaks 
by some mischance had been paired with Mr. 
Wyper, who had treated her to that peculiar 
form of patronage which made him unpopular 
with his own sex. His habit was to lay down 
some thesis and invite criticisms, and to re- 
ceive such criticisms with the smiling conde- 
scension with which a governess greets the 
crude efforts of a backward child. He had what 
is called a "mobile" countenance, and his 
eyebrows and eyes were in constant move- 
ment, so that Lady GuidwilHe had occasion 
to observe to her host that she wished some- 
thing could be done to make the man de- 
mobilise his face. 

Mrs. Lavender, too, was out of temper with 
Mr. Burford. He, alone of the party, was in 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 41 

the best of spirits, but he refused to communi- 
cate the secret of his content. He had hunted 
enthusiastically for the eggs of the black- 
headed gull when Mrs. Lavender would fain 
have had him show his intellectual paces be- 
fore her friends. On the subject of the sermon 
of the morning he had refused to be drawn, 
only remarking that he Hked the look of the 
chap, and meant to have a good yarn with 
him some day soon. 

At dinner, which, owing to the mildness of 
the air, took place out of doors on the south 
terrace, Mr. Wyper was much disposed to 
argument. 

"I had hoped,'* he said, "to see Macmillan 
here this evening. Is n't it the custom in 
country houses that the parson dines on Sun- 
day night.?" 

He was informed by Colonel Lamont that 
Mr. Macmillan had strict views on the observ- 
ance of the Sabbath and would as soon think 
of dining out on that day as of setting up a 
confessional. *'He's coming here one night 
soon if he gets back in time from the fishing. 



42 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

You can't depend upon him if the sea trout 
are running in Lith Water.'* 

"He interests me enormously," continued 
Mr. Wyper. "An honest obscurantist! His 
point of view is, of course, very much that of 
our late enemies. Had every one been as hon- 
est as he, the war would have died away in the 
first month from very shame. The school of 
thought to which I belong is the extreme an- 
tithesis of Germanism, but we opposed the war 
because we knew very well that this country 
did not fight with clean hands. Macmillan, 
you tell me, was ardently bellicose and served 
in the field, and now that he has won he is in 
terror lest his victory should be complete. He 
realises that he has been fighting against his 
own creed. It is all very typical of our na- 
tional confusion of thought." 

Sir William Jacob shook his head. *'I see no 
confusion. I think we had some very good 
sense this morning — some truths which to 
me personally were very disquieting. The 
parson's advice was to keep our heads clear, 
and, because we had to smash a perversion, 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 43 

not to be betrayed into a denial of the truths 
which had been perverted. That seems to be 
plain enough." 

"That is a fair debating point, Jacob," said 
Mr. Wyper. "But it has no substance. My 
argument is that these doctrines must from 
their very nature be hable to constant per- 
version. So soon as you accept nationahty 
and the historic state and the large pohtical 
organism, you sHp insensibly into the vice of 
Prussianism. Will any one deny that our Brit- 
ish Imperialists held in reality the German 
faith, and only missed its enormities because 
they were less able and logical than the Kaiser 
and his Marshals.'^" 

All, including Sir William Jacob, seemed 
disposed to deny it, but their hostess antici- 
pated them. 

"We shall have Mr. Philip Lenchard here 
on Tuesday. We had better leave the British 
Empire to be defended by him." 

"I sincerely hope so," said Mrs. Lavender 
pensively. "Philip promised me to let nothing 
stand in the way. But you know, my dear, he 



44 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

is in serious danger of being made a god. His 
visit to India was far too successful. He is 
just that mixture of Herbert Spencer and 
Buddha that Orientals love. I hear that 
there is quite a powerful body already which 
worships him and burns Blue-Books in his 
honour." 

"I wish," said Lady Sevenoaks — "I wish 
that some of our pohticians could be deified. 
It would be such a dignified way of getting rid 
of them. They won't be satisfied with ordi- 
nary peerages, so we might make them Divi. 
It would be a very complete way of kicking 
them upstairs, for of course it would be sacri- 
lege if they came back to poHtics. Mr. Hepple- 
white, for example, — I simply cannot tell you 
the mess that man made of things in Paris. 
George says they imported hundreds of clerks, 
and took hotels and stufiFed them with experts 
on every kind of irrelevant question like the 
origin of the Kurds and the land system of 
Nebuchadnezzar, and the whole shepherded 
by nosy young men in big spectacles, which is 
the new Foreign OflSce type. George says the 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 45 

French began by giggling at us and then grew 
very cross." 

"It seems," said Colonel Lamont dolefully, 
"that we have won the war and are doing our 
best to lose all the fruits of it. Nothing has 
gone right since that infernal Armistice." 

The tone was so dejected that Christopher 
Normand's sense of comedy was stirred. 
"Cheer up, old man," he said. "In time we'll 
get used to the horrors of this Peace to end 
peace. . . . We're all getting too pessimistic. 
After all, none of our troubles are new. Read 
the memoirs of a hundred years ago and see 
the fools our people made of themselves at 
European congresses — hordes of smart wo- 
men and flimsy bureaucrats cumbering the 
busy men. Even our Labour troubles — every 
one of them — have a long ancestry. I am 
prone to the dumps myself, and the best cure 
is to read a little history." 

Mr. Normand had raised his voice, as his 
habit was when he was in earnest, and three 
newcomers had approached the table ere the 
diners were aware of their presence. Two were 



46 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tall young men; one was small and middle- 
aged, with a thin face, fiery red hair, and rest- 
less brown eyes. This last caught the conclud- 
ing words of Mr. Normand, for he signalised 
his advent with loud approval. 

" 'Ear ! 'Ear ! " he said. "That 's well spoken. 
What we all want is to learn a bit of 'ist'ry." 

While they were being welcomed by the 
host and hostess. Lady Sevenoaks asked Mrs. 
Lavender their names. 

"The tallest is George Maldwin — Stan- 
bury-Maldwin. A great friend of mine, and 
the best man to hounds in Northampton- 
shire." 

"A Guardsman, I suppose," said Lady 
Sevenoaks. "They all have double names and 
places in the Midlands." 

"The other boy is my cousin, Penrose 
MacAndrew. He is just back from keeping 
watch on the Rhine.'* 

"The third?" asked Lady Sevenoaks. "I 
have seen him before, but where and when 
I can't remember. Probably on some plat- 
form." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 47 

"Not on your George's, I bet. That's D. C. 
Jonas.'* 

Lady Sevenoaks exclaimed, "The Labour 
man ! I 'm going home to-morrow. Why in the 
name of goodness does Kathie invite all these 
people here just when we're tired and want 
cheering?" 

"Because," said Mrs. Lavender, "they 
seem to be the only cheerful folks left alive in 
this little old world. I asked her to get Dan 
and Jimmie here. You highbrows want a lot 
of talking to. You may call me every kind of 
fool, my dear, if they don't turn out to be the 
cheeriest members in this congregation of 
undertakers." 



IV 

In which two Leaders of the People essay the sports of the 
idle rich. Mr. Jonas expounds the meaning of Bolshevism 
and the temperament of the British nation. 

Colonel Lamont examined his correspond- 
ence at breakfast with a puzzled air. 

"We must be getting very popular people,'* 
he told his wife. "Malone proposes to come 
here on Wednesday for a day or two and to 
bring with him the French Army Commander 
for whom I did liaison on the Somme. I never 
thought to entertain old Morier in this island. 
I must say I am uncommonly pleased. Do you 
know Mr. Malone.''" he asked Mrs. Lavender. 

" Merry weather ! Why, yes. He was a beau 
of mine before I met William and married 
beneath me. He's a bright boy. Say, Penrose, 
what do you think of Merryweather Malone 
coming here.''" 

The young American, who had a curiously 
solemn face and very bright, humorous eyes. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 49 

ejaculated, **Fine! " and continued his break- 
fast. 

*'And, Martha dear," said the hostess, 
**Mr. Lenchard arrives to-morrow, god or no. 
I suppose he will behave like ordinary people." 

"Indeed he won't. I can promise you that, 
Kathie. But he eats the same food as you and 
me." 

"Thank Heaven, there's plenty of it," said 
the Colonel. "That is the advantage of having 
your own land nowadays. But the cellar has 
been shockingly neglected for four years." 

"You need n't worry about that," said Mrs. 
Lavender. "Merry weather has gone dry Hke 
the rest of the U.S.A. Your French General 
won't want more than a glass of white wine, 
and Philip is all for barley water. Pour your 
cellar into the sea, Arthur, and join the ranks 
of the bone-dry. You'll be a happier and a 
healthier man. And, you boys, quit the flow- 
ing bowl, or you '11 get whipped at polo every 
time." 

"I am waiting to take on America," said 
Mr. Maid win, "when she has given up alcohol 



60 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

for ten years and then rediscovers it. It will 
be like the South Sea Islanders when they had 
measles. She will have lost the power to resist 
it." 

"And that*s the youth of England!" the 
lady exclaimed, flinging up her hands. "For 
the Lord's sake, don't corrupt little Penrose. 
I promised his mother I would look after his 
morals." 

The arrival of the young men had worked 
a change in the party comparable to the intro- 
duction of effervescent salts into flat water. 
It was a clear, fresh morning, and every one 
sought the open air. Mr. Maldwin, who an- 
nounced that he had long ago resolved to 
make a pet of himself after the war, arranged 
with Mr. Jonas for a trip in their host's racing 
cutter, Mr. Burford, Penrose MacAndrew, 
and Phyllis proposed a day's fishing on the 
Lith, while Christopher Normand and Colonel 
Lamont were to try for brown trout in the 
Black Loch. 

"I'll come with you, George," said Mrs. 
Lavender. "If you drown Dan and there's 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 51 

nobody else on the scene, they'll say it was a 
plot of Capital to weaken Labour.** 

"No, they won't," said Mr. Maldwin. "I 
voted Labour at the last election and I'm 
going to join the party as soon as they clean 
up their stable and engage a better class of 
jock." 

"You'll come to a bad end, dearie. Your 
kind of demagogue always gets knifed in the 
flower of its youth." 

Mr. Maldwin, as they set off for the shore, 
was heard to remark that a prolonged sojourn 
in the Ypres Sahent had made him a trifle 
blasS about murders. 

That evening dinner was deferred, for the 
fishers were late, and it was not till the stroke 
of nine that the saiHng party returned with 
ravenous appetites and deeply sunburned 
faces. The tremendous news was announced 
that Mr. Burford had caught a salmon and 
had landed it after a long run during which 
he had twice fallen into the river. Phyllis re- 
counted the exploit. 

" He stuck to it like a Trojan and did every- 



52 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

thing I told him quite right, but his reel 
jammed and he had to play the fish with his 
hands. I have just had them bandaged, Aunt 
Kathie, and he's having a bath and chang- 
ing." 

The sportsman entered the room and was 
overwhelmed with laughing congratulations. 

*'My word," he said, beaming on the com- 
pany, "that was fun all right. I have n't en- 
joyed myself so much since I was a kid. It 
was n't so much me catching a salmon as the 
salmon catching me. I would walk a hundred 
miles to get that thrill again when the reel 
screams. Dan, I 'm feeling on the side of what 
you'd call the idle rich to-night." 

"'Ear, 'ear," said Mr. Jonas. "I've been 
'aving the time of my life too." 

"They nearly drowned me," said Mrs. 
Lavender. "You never saw such a pair of 
mountebanks. Twice George made the sheet 
fast and left the tiller to me, while he and Dan 
sat and argued like costermongers in the bot- 
tom of the boat. It's a mercy my old dad 
taught me something about sailing." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 53 

*'I wouldn't have left you in charge if I 
had n't known all about you," said Mr. 
Maldwin appreciatively. 

"It has n't done your complexion any good, 
Martha dear," said Lady Sevenoaks. 

Presently, when the edge had been taken 
off healthy appetites, Mr. Jonas began to look 
round him and encountered the eyes of Lady 
Sevenoaks. She had had a dull day, for she 
had stayed at home to write letters and had 
been condemned to the society of Mr. Wyper, 
who had remained behind for the same pur- 
pose. Mr. Wyper's conversation had roused 
her many poHtical grievances, and she was 
prepared to wreak her vengeance on Mr. Jonas. 

"They tell me you say that Liberahsm is 
dead," she began. 

"Not a bit of it," he replied cheerfully. 
"Nothing of that kind ever dies. But the old 
Liberal Party is dead, if that's what you 
mean." 

"You call yourself a moderate man," said 
the lady sadly. "And so I suppose do Chris- 
topher and Mr. Burford. And yet you are 



54 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

happy at the prospect of the country being 
left without a middle party and brigaded into 
two extremes." 

"What do you mean by a middle party?" 
Mr. Normand asked. 

"A party of mediation," was the answer. 
"You have Labour on one side making ex- 
treme demands and Capital on the other in- 
disposed to yield. To mediate you must have 
a party which sees the justice of both sides — 
and the blunders. Otherwise you have a 
struggle of the 'haves* and 'have nots/ and 
the victory of either is ruin to the nation." 

Mr. Normand Hfted his eyebrows. "Is that 
a fair description of the Liberal Party of the 
last twelve years .'^" 

" It was what we aimed at," said Sir William 
Jacob. "If we failed, it was because we were 
too successful." 

"That's a true word," said Mr. Jonas. 
" You failed because you waxed fat and kicked. 
You were the *'aves' and you prided your- 
selves on your cleverness in getting, and the 
people who believed in idealism finally got 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 55 

sick of you. I've been in Glasgow and talking 
to our chaps there, and I asked them to ex- 
plain the downfall of Liberalism in Scotland. 
I took Scotland as a test case, for you were at 
your strongest 'ere. This is what they told me. 
Scotland, they said, 'ad been Liberal ever 
since the days of John Knox and the Cove- 
nanters, and when there was a chance of the 
thing dying Gladstone came along and gave 
it a new lease of hfe. Scotsmen were Liberal 
because they were conservative and hked the 
old ways. Their creed was traditionaUsm 
touched with emotion. They liked old things, 
and they Hked also to think that they were on 
the side of the angels. Why should n't they? 
Well, the great Liberal Party became the 
most powerful Government of modern times. 
It developed a most efficient caucus and made 
a speciality of every electioneering dodge. 
You prided yourself on it, and that was the 
beginning of your downfall. Then came the 
spectacle of your stalwarts, who wanted the 
land for the people and scorned the 'Ouse of 
Lords, scrambling after peerages and setting 



56 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

up as county magnates as soon as they got 
them. Jock Willison was telHng me about one 
of them who was all for abolishing squires and 
lords, and the last Jock 'card of him was a 
picture in the papers showing him in his peer's 
robes and describing the welcome of the ten- 
antry when he returned to his new ancestral 
seat. That about finished the job, with the 'elp 
of Marconi. And now the 'ard-'eaded Scot is 
taking none of your Liberals. He wants honest 
Tory or honest Labour." 

Lady Sevenoaks sighed. "There's some 
truth in that. Many of our people were the 
vulgarest of God's creatures. But they were 
no worse, surely, than the Unionists." 

"Oh, yes, they were," said Mr. Jonas, "for 
the poor old Unionists did n't make any noble 
professions. There's no special 'arm in going 
to a casino, I take it. But if you find the 
President of the Anti-Gambling League punt- 
ing you get a bit sick." 

"Then do I understand you to say that the 
revolt against Liberalism is a revolt against 
middle-class vulgarity?" asked Sir William. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 57 

"Partly, and partly a revolt against silli- 
ness. Your party got into the 'abit of not 
arguing fair and square, but referring to 'Lib- 
eral principles' as if tliey were a new Ten 
Commandments. God knows what they mean 
by them, but that 'abit was the worst kind of 
Toryism. And then you talked a lot of slush. 

Take the old " and Mr. Jonas mentioned 

a well-known weekly paper. 

Mr. Wyper, who was one of that journal's 
most valued contributors, bridled. "I deny 
that utterly. It endeavours to explore every 
question from the standpoint of eager, vital 
people who are striving to make a new world. 
It is the only organ left of serious political 
thought." 

Mr. Jonas, whose face was scarlet from the 
sea winds, was not easily silenced. 

"I make no personal allusions, and I ask 
everybody's pardon, but I don't see where the 
eagerness and vitality come in, unless it's 
eager to be as pettish as an old maid and vital 
to be always on the edge of tears. You won't 
argue well if you're 'aving 'ysterics all the 



58 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

time. I've got tired of a paper that's shaken 
in every column by a passion of sobs." 

"You're going too far, Dan," said Mr. 
Burford. "There's a heap of good writing in 
it, and you know you read it yourself every 
week." 

*'I do, but I never shut it up without feel- 
ing what a funny little cellar it lives in. No, 
Jimmie. You 're not going to reform the world 
by being spiteful and tearful. The people of 
this country ain't one or the other." 

"All that's beside the point," said Lady 
Sevenoaks. "Of course we had our faults — 
bad faults. But how is the country to get on 
without us? You must have a halfway house 
where both sides can meet. Otherwise you 
have two extremes which never touch. And 
these extremes will tend to grow more ex- 
treme in the absence of a trait d'union, till you 
have Bolshevism on one side and Junkerdom 
on the other." 

Mr. Jonas refused a glass of port, leaned his 
elbows on the table, and collected the eyes of 
the company. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 59 

"We'd better 'ave this out," he said. "Lady 
Sevenoaks, you 're what the Americans call a 
* stand-patter,' begging your pardon. You still 
think of the nation as split up into classes each 
utterly different in temperament and outlook. 
That's where you're wrong. You Liberals are 
the worst reactionaries. You 'ave n't any no- 
tion of the ordinary man. Nothing like as 
much as the Tory. Why, in my old part of the 
world people used to 'sir' the Liberal member 
and touch their 'ats to him, while everybody 
called the Tory candidate by his Christian 
name. There ain't much in that, but it's a 
parable of the way you have got into the 'abit 
of cast-iron class notions. This war has shown 
that all classes are much the same at bottom. 
Ask the soldiers. They 've learned more about 
the British people in the trenches than you'd 
learn in politics in a hundred years." 

Mr. Maid win signified his assent. "That's 
true of the two things I know anything about 
— sport and fighting. I always guessed it, but 
I learned it pretty thoroughly in France. 
That's why I'm for the ordinary man, who's 



60 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the chap that won the war. I 'd be for the La- 
bour Party to-morrow if it would buck up 
and reform its stable. It ain't the horses that's 
to blame; it's the poor stamp of jock." 

"WTiat I say," continued Mr. Jonas, "is 
that so long as we go on talking about classes 
as if they were things established by 'Eaven 
since the creation of the world, we are asking 
for trouble. You'll never get to understand 
about folks in a different walk of life from you 
if you think of them as somehow different by 
nature. Things are easier in America, because 
they tell me that classes are fluid there and 
their boundaries are always shifting. That's 
so, Mrs. Lavender.'*" 

"True," said the lady. "William was raised 
in a shack in Idaho, and if the present rate of 
taxation goes on, my boys will be getting back 
to that shack." 

"I'm not speaking about classes," said 
Lady Sevenoaks. "I am speaking about 
creeds. Do you mean to deny that Bolshevism 
is rampant in British Labour to-day.'*" 

"Of course I do. It's a bad 'abit to call a 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 61 

thing names when you don't understand it. 
Of course the workers are restless, same as 
everybody else; and since they 'ave won the 
war they want a square deal with the fruits of 
peace. But they ain't Bolsheviks — barring a 
few dozen miscreants who should be in gaol. 
What's Bolshevism anyhow .f* Judging by the 
Russian specimens, apart from their liking for 
'olesale 'omicide, it seems to mean a general 
desire to pull things up by the roots. Well, 
that ain't the line of the British working-man. 
He is the soundest conservative on the globe, 
and what he wants is to get his roots down 
deeper. In other countries the poor man has 
a grip on the soil. In this country he 'as n't 'ad 
that for two hundred years. We are over- 
industrialised, as the saying is; but a root's 
got to be found somewhere, and he finds it in 
his Unions. That's why he's so jealous about 
them, and quite right too. He wants to find 
security and continuity somewhere. Now 
that's the opposite of Bolshevism. The true 
Bolsheviks are the intellectuals that want to 
make him only a bit of scientific terminology. 



62 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

as Jock Willison says, and the plutocrats that 
want to make him a cog in a cold-'earted ma- 
chine. They 're the folk that are trying to up- 
turn the foundations of things.** 

"I should define Bolshevism differently," 
said Sir William. *'Its chief motive seems to 
be the establishment of the tyranny of a class. 
It*s the same thing as Prussianism, only its 
class is the proletariat.'* 

"I'm dead-sick of that word 'proletariat,*** 
said Mr. Jonas. "It's part of the bastard sci- 
entific jargon that 's come over from Germany. 
I would n't call my dog such a 'ard name. But 
you're right, Sir Wilham. Only what I'm 
arguing is that Bolshevism is a very old thing, 
and that there is n't much of it in the British 
working-classes. I'll tell you who were 'earty 
Bolsheviks in their day. The Manchester 
School and the Utilitarians. They wanted to 
run the world mainly for the benefit of one 
class, and they considered only material ends. 
It's true they did n't dabble in crime, but that 
was because they were rich, frock-coated 
gents and did n't need to." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 63 

Sir William Jacob was far from pleased at 
Mr. Jonas's assent to his definition, followed 
as it was by this unexpected illustration. 
"You misread the Manchester School very 
gravely, Mr. Jonas," he said. 

"Why?" asked Mr. Jonas. "They objected 
to all war, except their own kind. So does 
Lenin. They asked about everything only 
what cash value it produced. So did Marx and 
his lot. They chose a fraction of the State and 
said everything must serve its interests, seeing 
that it was the People and wisdom would die 
with it. So does Trotsky. What more do you 
want.?" 

"The great Cobden — " began Sir Wilham, 
but he was interrupted. 

"Cobden!" cried Mr. Jonas, with some- 
thing approaching passion. "Cobden was the 
biggest Bolshevik there's ever been. I reckon 
'im the 'orridest character in all 'ist'ry. I was 
reading a bit about 'im the other day, a letter 
he wrote during the Crimean War, where he 
fairly gloats because what he calls the gov- 
erning class was losing sons at Balaclava. He 



64 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

'ad n't the stuff in 'im to love his country, but 
he could 'ate all right. I '11 give you a defini- 
tion of Bolshevism, Sir William. It's the creed 
that 's based on 'ate. And if you think that 's 
common among the British people, you greatly 
misjudge your countrymen." 

Mr. Jonas, as if conscious that he had been 
too fervent, sat back in his chair and spoke 
in a quieter voice, that soothing voice which 
aforetime had calmed great gatherings at 
great crises. 

"We are going through a diflScult time, I 
don't deny. But it will come all right if we 
remember two tilings. The first is never to 'ate, 
for it's un-English and un-Christian, and don't 
pay. The other is to remember 'ist'ry and to 
realise that none of our troubles are new. Our 
grandfathers 'ad them, but they faced up to 
them like men, and did n't confuse their 'eads 
with bad science. 

"It's hke," he continued, "a time of thaw. 
The bitter binding winter of war is over. War 
was a cruel thing, and nipped young life and 
killed the weaklings and put a stop to growth. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 65 

But its frosts were exhilarating too, and keyed 
us all up. Now we're in the thaw, with muddy 
roads and dripping skies, and our tempers are 
getting short. It's a 'ard time, for there's 
neither the tonic of winter nor the comfort of 
summer, but only grey weather over a grey 
world. But you can't 'ave spring without it. 
That's what we 'ave to remember. And the 
time is coming when the sun will shine again 
and we will walk in green fields." 

A strange gentleness and beauty had come 
into the speaker's rugged face. Suddenly he 
began to laugh. 

"Dearie me," he said, "I'm getting elo- 
quent. 'Ow's that for a peroration? It only 
wants a reference to the sunrise and the 'ills of 
Wales to be up to one of the P.M.'s efforts." 



A wet day. The ladies proffer their cure* for the present 
discontents. Mr. Normand discourses on Liberty. An 
Apostle of Empire arrives. 

Breakfast next morning was made remark- 
able by the cheerfulness of Mrs. Lament. 
Usually of a shy and timid habit, as of a dove 
in a world of eagles, she now blossomed into a 
sober merriment. She rallied Mr. Burford on 
his damaged hands, and Mr. Jonas on his 
garb, for that gentleman, resolved to emulate 
his friend's fishing exploits on the Lith, had 
borrowed a pair of Colonel Lamont's trench 
boots and a shooting-coat which hung loose 
on his shoulders. 

"Your ruthless optimism last night has 
gone to Kathie's head," Lady Sevenoaks told 
the latter. 

"Yes," said the hostess, "I was so cheered 
with what you told me. I know so Httle of the 
working-classes, apart from our own people 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 67 

here, and the papers are full of such disquiet- 
ing stories." 

Mr. Jonas, who was standing up eating por- 
ridge in imitation of his host, and making 
rather a messy job of it, set down his plate 
and announced that breakfast was not the 
time to talk politics, but that he was bound 
to issue a warning. 

**Our people are sound at *eart,** he said, 
"but the situation is disquieting right enough. 
They're asking for big changes in their life 
and work, and they mean to 'ave them. 
There's plenty of folk in the country who 
won't be got to understand what the workers 
want, and plenty who understand and won't 
agree to it. That means a fight, and whether 
it's a decent fight or a bitter, long battle de- 
pends just upon the amount of good temper 
and good sense both sides put into it. I 'ave n't 
any doubt which side will win, but I want it 
to be a fair win, leaving no bad blood behind 
it. The mischief is that unless the masters 
show a good spirit, they'll get up the backs of 
the men, and the men will make demands that 



68 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

'ave n't justice in them. That's always apt to 
'appen. So a lot depends on you, my friends. 
The People are n't very clever and they 're 
pretty slow, but when they make up their 
mind and get earnest they 're always right. It 
is n't going to be pleasant for everybody to 
admit this, and no amount of nice phrases will 
get over the unpleasantness." 

Mrs. Lamont's face fell, but Mr. Jonas was 
relentless. 

"Then there's the trouble abroad and all 
the mess of wickedness that the 'Un has cre- 
ated. There's plenty of Bolshevism about in 
Europe — real Bolshevism — and we've got 
to get the thing straight, for a country can't 
live to itself alone any more than a 'uman be- 
ing. We're all members one of another. "SYe 
won't get peace at 'ome till we get peace 
abroad. Why, every little industrial dispute 
in England is in the long run a world problem." 

"I should like to hear you develop that,'* 
said Mr. Normand. 

But Mr. Jonas refused. "No," he said, 
"I'm going fishing. This isn't the 'appy 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 69 

breakfast table of No. 10 Downing Street. I'll 
tell you all about it to-night, if Jimmie does n't 
drown me." 

The day passed somewhat slowly for the 
ladies. The only man left behind was Chris- 
topher Normand, who was busy in the Ubrary, 
for even Mr. Wyper had departed for the 
Black Loch, where he proposed, not to fish 
like the others, but to ascend an adjacent 
mountain. In the late afternoon a slight drizzle 
began, and tlie party assembled for tea in 
the hall, where a fire of logs burned with the 
ferocity which characterises fires in summer 
lit rather for cheerfulness than for warmth. 
The group presented a comfortable spectacle 
to Mr. Normand as he returned from a con- 
stitutional in the rain. 

*'We were discussing what Mr. Jonas said 
at breakfast," Mrs. Lamont informed him. 
"What do you think the workers really want, 
Christopher.'*" 

"A little kindness and putting their hair in 
curl-papers," was the reply. 

"I wish you'd be serious," said the lady. 



70 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

who did not recognise the quotation. **I 
can't help feeling that they only want sym- 
pathy." 

"Just what I said," replied Mr. Normand. 

"I mean," said Mrs. Lamont, her kind eyes 
looking into vacancy — *'I mean they want 
a more human relationship than that between 
the employers of a company and a board of 
directors whose names they don't know. My 
father used always to say that joint-stock 
companies would be the ruin of our working- 
classes. I think no one should be allowed to 
be an employer of labour who does not know 
personally every one of his men." 

"And has a nice wife who takes them soup 
when they are ill," said Mr. Normand. 

"That would be a good thing too," said 
Mrs. Lamont innocently. 

"Nonsense, Kathie," said Lady Sevenoaks. 
"You're always harking back to the Lady 
Bountiful business. The working-classes only 
want what we all want — more money and 
more leisure. I am all for high wages and a 
short working- week, and the country can well 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 71 

afford them if it does not cripple itself with 
idiotic schemes of Tariff Reform." 

"I think you are too material," said the 
intense voice of Mrs. Aspenden. "I cannot 
believe that a war which has been won by the 
spirit should lead only to an increase of loaves 
and fishes. What we need is more religion — 
true religion." 

"I agree," said Mr. Normand gravely. 

"How can we expect the poor to be happy," 
said the lady, "when our churches are so ugly 
and our services so few and uninspiring .f* As 
dear Father Mabbett used to say, if we want 
to restore Merrie England, we must have 
priests serving all day before our altars, and 
the poor regarding the Church as their true 
home, and the bells of every town and village 
in the land ringing to welcome in the days of 
the Blessed Saints." 

"You think you could rally Labour on that 
cry?" asked Mr. Normand. 

"I am sure of it," said the lady. 

"Like Sir Vavasour Firebrace and the bitter 
wrongs of the baronetage." 



72 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

But his gibe missed fire, for Mrs. Aspenden 
was not a student of Disraeli. *' You have no 
idea what good work the Toil and Spirit 
movement is doing," she continued. "Faith 
Brantwing told me that she had a shop- 
steward to tea and he stayed till midnight and 
poured out his heart to her. People like her 
can lift the workers out of their materialism." 

At the last word Mr. Normand, who re- 
membered the toilettes of the lady in ques- 
tion, could not repress a smile. 

"What do you say. Pen, dear.?" Mrs. 
Lamont asked her niece. 

Lady Penelope Wyper, who habitually 
wore clothes more suited for a Three Arts Ball 
than the Hebrides, was busy fitting a tiny 
cigarette into an elaborate holder. 

"Oh, I don't know," she said. "I live only 
for the beautiful in life and I 'm not interested 
in economics. I don't think anybody is, except 
the people who make their living by teaching 
them. I agree with Ursula that the change 
must be in the spirit, but a few thousand extra 
High Church parsons won't work the change. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 73 

I think the people are craving for colour and 
form. Now, if Augustus John — " 

But, unnoticed by the speakers, the party 
irom the Lith had returned, and PhyUis and 
the two fishermen were standing between a 
Coromandel screen and the passage to the 
drawing-room. They had been listening to the 
last part of the conversation, and Mr. Nor- 
mand was a delighted witness of the slow 
amazement which overspread their faces. 
Phyllis, who could not see it direct, caught the 
reflection of it in Christopher's eyes and broke 
into merry laughter. 

" Have you got a fish ? " Mr. Normand asked. 

"I 'ave," said Mr. Jonas. "And I've put 
Jimmie's nose out of joint. Mine's a pound 
and a 'alf 'eavier than 'is." 

*'You must be dreadfully wet, you poor 
people," said Mrs. Lamont. "Hadn't you 
better change before you have tea, or shall I 
have it sent up to you.''" 

They disappeared, protesting that they 
would be down in ten minutes, and in the 
interval conversation languished. It was im- 



74 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

possible to induce Lady Penelope to expound 
her views further. 

"But you must contribute something, 
Christopher," Mrs. Lamont told him. "We 
are trying to be public-spirited and helpful, 
and you only jeer." 

"Well, if you want to know my views, I 
think the workers of this country at the mo- 
ment want liberty above all things." 

"But surely they've got it." 

"Not quite the right sort. Kathie, your 
grandfather was one of the 1832 Whigs." 

"He was, the more shame to him," said 
Lady Guidwillie. 

"Why shame?" Mrs. Lamont asked. "He 
was a very good man, Margaret." 

"He was," said Mr. Normand, "and he 
fought in what was on the whole a very good 
cause. He wanted the people to have political 
liberty. Well, industrial p)olitics are the vital 
pohtics of the workers. They want the same 
kind of liberty there that your grandfather 
helped to win for them in the constitutional 
field." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 75 

"Rubbish, Christopher,** said Lady Guid- 
willie. "They have ample Hberty. They can 
carry their labour to any market, and drive a 
hard bargain for the price of it. What more 
do you want?" 

"Price is n't everything. They want to 
have a say in running the world by which they 
live. I beHeve that if they had it they would 
be better workmen and that every industry 
would yield a bigger profit. Production is what 
we need, more and more production, for the 
war has starved the worid of everything; and 
this is a way to it.'* 

"I don't in the least know what you mean,'* 
said Lady Guidwillie. "Do you want to na- 
tionalise everything? That, no doubt, would 
give the work-people some say in the man- 
agement of business, for the whole nation 
would be the employer." 

"I beheve that in one or two cases nation- 
alisation would be right," Mr. Normand re- 
pHed. "But I don't want to see it carried too 
far, for the State should stand a Uttle outside 
the industrial worid and be able to interfere 



76 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

with some prestige when things get at logger- 
heads. If it were the universal employer it 
would have no independent status." 

"Then what do you want? You surely 
would n't argue that a committee of ignorant 
workmen was as capable of running a business 
profitably as the highly trained employer. 
They 've tried it in Russia and made a pretty 
mess of it. You would only decrease produc- 
tion, and that would put up the cost of living 
and lower wages. Really, Christopher, you're 
very illogical." 

Mr. Normand laughed, and put a question. 
"You would admit that a despot, if he were 
really able and benevolent, would run a coun- 
try better than a democracy.'^" 

"Certainly." 

"But the world has decided against the 
despot, partly because you can't count either 
on his ability or his benevolence, and partly 
because men like to be free and would rather 
have an imperfect government for which they 
are responsible than a perfect government for 
which they are not. You agree.''" 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 77 

Lady Guidwillie nodded doubtfully. Being 
very shrewd, she saw where she was being led. 

"Well, there's the same feeling about the 
present system in industry. Men want to have 
a say in what concerns them more nearly than 
the government of the State, and that is the 
management of the work by which they live. 
They don't believe in the divine right and in- 
fallibility of employers any more than in the 
divine right of kings and the infallibiHty of 
the Pope. K you reply that they must trust 
the expert, they are incredulous and declare 
that that is pure Prussianism. You see, the 
average man in Britain has learned very 
completely the lesson of the war." 

Mr. Maldwin and Sir William Jacob had 
returned from a long tramp and were Hstening 
with interest to the discussion. 

"I don't believe in the unvarying compe- 
tence of employers," said the latter. "I have 
cross-examined too many and found out how 
Httle they knew of their own business. To that 
extent I sympathise with the workers, and as 
a Liberal I am in favour of carrying the prin- 



78 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ciple of self-government into all things. But 
surely, Normand, you are perilously near the 
ground of the Syndicalist and the Guild So- 
cialist. I thought Tory Democrats believed 
in the historic continuity of things. You are 
prepared to scrap a machine which on the 
whole works, and put in its place an empirical 
toy." 

"I wish," said Mr. Normand — "I wish 
that people would stop calling me a Tory 
Democrat. I don't know what the silly phrase 
means. I'm a Tory or a Democrat. I should 
prefer to be a Tory if the world were what it 
was long ago. No, I am not sentimental about 
the past, but I don't believe greatly in the 
merits of what we call progress, and I should 
have preferred a simpler and poorer and hap- 
pier England. But I'm not blind, and Tory- 
ism, except for a few eternal principles, be- 
longs only to history. As it is, I 'm a Democrat 
sans phrase, and I maintain that it 's a natural 
transition from honest Toryism." 

Sir William apologised. "But what about 
your Syndicalism.''" he asked. 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 79 

"Syndicalism is simply a proof of the wide- 
spread instinct I've been talking about. You 
will always find people to fit an abstract abso- 
lutist creed to any instinct. Syndicalism goes 
too far, and would enthrone one human rela- 
tion at the expense of all the rest. Guild Social- 
ism is uncommonly interesting, but I believe 
that it is too exotic to work well in the world 
as we know it to-day. But both are exaggera- 
tions of what I believe to be sound doctrine. 
I have never been much of an enthusiast about 
the blessings of self-government, but if it's 
good for the things that matter less it is better 
for the things that matter more.'* 

Lady Guidwillie was not convinced. 

"I have always been told that an army 
would be beaten if it were commanded by a 
debating society, and I don't see how that 
does n't apply to business. Expert knowledge 
is expert knowledge, and the workman who 
tends a single machine will make a mess of it 
if he interferes with the organisation in which 
his machine is only a part. Is n't there a pas- 
sage in the Apocrypha about the man whose 



80 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

talk is of bullocks sticking to them and not 
trying to sit in the councils of the State?" 

"That text is on my side," said Christopher 
Normand. "We are dealing with the manage- 
ment of bullocks, not with things like foreign 
policy. Besides, the rank and file will obey 
the real expert better if he is the man of their 
own approval. Give the ordinary man a fair 
chance and he'll pick good leaders and be 
loyal to them." 

Mr. Maldwin, who had been listening in- 
tently, took up the parable. 

"I believe all your life you've practised 
what Normand 's saying," he told Lady Guid- 
willie. "I've been pretty often to stay at 
Waucht, and I must say the sport was better 
run there than anywhere I know. But did you 
ever dare to interfere with Donald Matheson? 
He used to run the stalking like a tyrant, and 
run it jolly well too. Wliy, I've heard him give 
Guidwillie a proper keel-hauling for some 
mistake, and Guidwillie always admitted he 
was right. And the same with Anderson, the 
river keeper. Do you think you would have 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 81 

got as good work out of these fellows if you 
had been always supervising them and telling 
them what to do, instead of letting their show 
be their own concern and making them feel 
proud of it?" 

Mr. Burford and Mr. Jonas, dry and re- 
clothed, had entered the hall and were busy 
making up arrears. It was for them a solemn 
duty, for both were in the habit of declaring 
that they would rather give up every other 
meal than tea. Muffins sealed Mr. Burford's 
mouth as dust dimmed the eyes of Helen, but 
Mr. Jonas had still a voice. 

"I 'ad the privilege of 'earing a little time 
ago some very interesting views from the 
ladies as to what the workers really want." 

The ladies in question looked guiltily at 
each other. 

"Very interesting and enlightening they 
were. And now I've 'card some very good 
sense from our friends Mr. Normand and 
Mr. Maldwin 'ere. But I've got to protest 
again about the 'abit of thinking of the work- 
ers as if they were an unfeatured class, like a 



82 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

field of corn. We'll get on better if we think of 
Jack and Bill and Tom as individuals. Our 
job is to restore the ordinary man's individual- 
ity, which 'as been submerged. Everything 
comes back to that, and if you think of the 
question in that way you '11 find it easier going. 
Bill Thomas, let's say, wants better wages 
and more leisure and more interest and re- 
sponsibility in his job. And we all want to see 
Bill a better citizen, with some notion of 'ow 
it takes all kinds to make a nation, and 'ow 'is 
own interests 'as to be squared with other 
people's. Well, that means that Bill's got to 
be better educated. Go for Bill, and never 
mind 'is class that you call the 'workers,' for 
if you think of an abstract thing like a class, 
you'll never get to grips with the problem. 
I'm speaking to my own address as well as 
to yours, for God knows I've talked a bit of 
nonsense in my day." 

Lady Guidwillie approved. "'Workers' is 
a horrid, question-begging word," she said, 
*'like 'Democracy' and 'the People.' But all 
this talk seems to me most disquieting. You 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 83 

want a millennium, but unless you get it uni- 
versally it will be a pandemonium. Industry 
and commerce are world-wide things, and 
while we are busy giving Bill Thomas a good 
time, his slender output will be swamped by 
the products of less fortunate countries, and 
the latter end of Bill will be starvation." 

Mr. Normand looked up sharply. 

" YouVe put your finger on the crux of the 
whole business. I'm not afraid of giving our 
people more self-government in industry, for 
that is a subject in which they are deeply con- 
cerned and in his own way every one of them 
is an expert. But Democracy is apt to be terri- 
bly self-centred in its interests. It suffers from 
a short-range imagination geographically. 
The purer a Democracy we become, the less 
are we fitted to handle world problems intelli- 
gently, and these world problems are just as 
vital to our well-being in the end as any do- 
mestic question. I agree with what you said 
at breakfast, Jonas. Every little industrial 
dispute we have is in the long run a matter for 
the whole world." 



84 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Jonas was about to reply, when he was 
interrupted by the dressing-bell. At the same 
moment there came a sound of wheels from 
without, and Mrs. Lamont rose in some ex- 
citement. "That must be Mr. Lenchard. 
Martha went to meet him." 

"Favete Unguis J' whispered Mr. Normand 
to Lady Sevenoaks. "When half -gods go, the 
gods arrive." 

Dinner was a pleasant meal which passed 
swiftly, for the new guest, who had travelled 
straight from London, brought news of the 
outer world which was greedily received by 
people dependent upon irregular Scottish 
papers and a belated Times. He had just been 
in Paris, and gave an amusing account of the 
jumble of nationalities at work in that per- 
plexed city. Mr. Lenchard was one of those 
figures who in every generation intrigue their 
contemporaries. Most people knew him only 
as a name, for, like the god Baal, he was often 
on a journey. Still in early middle life, he had 
a singular air of youth, but of monastic youth. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 85 

His hair, though plentiful, somehow suggested 
a tonsure; and whatever garment he assumed 
had the appearance of a monk's robe. His 
searching black eyes were preternaturally 
solemn, but his face now and then broke up 
into a slow smile. Perhaps it was his voice 
that suggested the Church; it seemed made 
to intone chants and offices. As the founder of 
that admirable quarterly, The Square DeaU 
he had some claim to be a shaper of political 
opinion, and he had gathered round him a 
group of men who in their several spheres had 
done distinguished work for their country. 
His critics declared that he was Prussian in 
his complete humourlessness and his inhuman 
persistence; his friends found in him both 
humour and modesty. Under his coercion the 
British Empire had altered much of its con- 
stitutional practice and wholly revised its 
constitutional theory — no small achieve- 
ment for a single patriot. 

The party assembled after dinner round 
the hall fire, for the coming of rain had brought 
a shght chill into the air. Lady Sevenoaks 



86 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

was eager to make Mr. Lenehard talk, for she 
wickedly anticipated a row with Mr. Wyper. 

"How is the Empire going to come out of 
all this?" she asked. **We have to be very 
chary in using the name now. What is the nev/ 
phrase? The British Commonwealth?" 

"Yes," said Mr. Lenehard. "That is a safer 
word and a more exact description. I like 
* Empire' myself, but the Germans have 
given it an ugly sound. ... I think things are 
going very well. The British peoples sat round 
the Conference Table as a group of free na- 
tions, and it was pleasant to find so many 
involuntary tributes to our success in govern- 
ment. Whenever there was any doubt about 
the proper mandatory for a part of the world, 
they generally came first to us." 

"I should have thought," said Lady Seven- 
oaks, "that the whole creed of Imperialism 
had been a Httle blown upon. Mr. Wyper said 
the other day that the attitude of the British 
Imperialist was indistinguishable from that of 
the Pan-Germans, except that he had less logic 
and courage." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 87 

But, to her astonishment, Mr. Lenchard 
refused to be drawn. He actually laughed. 

"I think that view has a good deal of truth 
in it. The whole world was bitten by Prussian- 
ism and none of our records are quite clean. 
We all thought too much of the lust of the 
eyes and the pride of life. But, yes — on the 
whole we were saner, even in our worst ex- 
travagances. Only our fools talked the racial 
nonsense of the Boche. The great Imperialists 
were inclined to be very humble in the face of 
their problems, and, remember, we had al- 
ways a good deal of the sound old ^Vlliggish 
notion of liberty in our heroics. But we wanted 
purifj^ing, and, please God, we've got it." 

Mr. Wyper, one of whose possessions was 
an uncommonly thick skin, was prepared to 
dispute this proposition. But Mr. Lenchard 
declined. 

"Good Lord, I'm not going to discuss poli- 
tics at this time of night. I 'm fairly dropping 
with sleep. We'll talk about it to-morrow, if 
you like. . . . Colonel Lamont, I hear General 
Morier is coming here.?" 



88 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"He turns up about eleven to-night. 
Malone wires that he's crossing in a yacht 
which the new Member for the county has 
borrowed from one of his milHonaire friends." 

"I saw a httle of Morier in Paris, and he 
makes a man feel about four feet high beside 
him. We've produced great soldiers, as great 
as anybody except Foch, but we can't pro- 
duce just the Morier type. He does n't belong 
to the modern world at all. He fought the war 
in the spirit in which St. Louis went to the 
Crusades or a mediaeval knight rode out to 
rescue a princess. It was funny to see him try- 
ing to puzzle his way through the kind of 
problem we had to face, wondering all the 
time why a war which had been fought for 
chivalry should end in bargaining. And the 
odd thing was that he finished by being the 
toughest bargainer of the lot. A great idealist 
often finds it hard to understand other ideal- 
isms than his own, and ends by being rather 
specially terre-a-terre. I dare say Mr. Jonas 
would call him an old reactionary." 

"No, I wouldn't," said that gentleman. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 89 

"I call him an 'ero. An *ero does n*t belong to 
any particular world, ancient or modern. But 
we all take ofiF our 'ats to 'im." 

"He is so wonderful," sighed Mrs. Aspen- 
den. *'I hear that he went to Mass every 
morning during all his battles." 

"Bless my soul," said Colonel Lamont, "I 
forgot all about that. This island was con- 
verted so thoroughly at the Reformation that 
there is n't a priest within twenty miles. . . . 
I wonder if Macmillan would be any good. 
He was rather nice about the Pope last Sun- 
day. The Lith is getting pretty low, and if 
only this rain does n't bring it up there may 
be a chance of inveigling him from the sea 
trout.'* 



VI 

Mr. Lenchard discusses the faults and virtues of British 
Imperialism. General Morier is in doubt about the League 
of Nations. A Practical Politician combats Idealism, 
and shows himself not immune from it. 

It was Lady Sevenoaks's habit to wake early 
and to pass the time in writing notes. At that 
hour of the morning her mind was active and 
her desire to express it overpowering. In Lon- 
don she would scatter her billets among her 
friends by special messenger, but here in the 
Hebrides she confined herself to inditing let- 
ters for the post. Her first thought on waking 
was of General Morier. She had a weakness 
for great men, especially for the romantically 
great; she remembered that during the war 
she had once sat next to him at lunch at the 
French Embassy, and she desired to recall 
herself to his memory. Accordingly she wrote 
and despatched by her maid an agreeable 
letter written in her best French. 

But while Lady Sevenoaks's French was of 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 91 

a crystal clarity, not so her handwriting. A 
footman presented the missive to General 
Morier while he was still heavy with sleep. 
The attempt to decipher it woke him up most 
efiFectively, and he continued his labour while 
he shaved. He grasped the friendly tenor of 
the document, but for the life of him he could 
not read the signature. 

When he descended to breakfast he found 
the party awaiting him with a curiosity 
scarcely masked by good breeding. Indeed, 
he was a figure which would have commanded 
attention in any company, even if his famous 
record had been imknown. Tall and spare, 
and bearing himself with that erect grace 
which his countrymen alone can command, 
he seemed the incarnation of the spirit of 
chivalrous war. A long, curving scar on his 
brown cheek told of that wound in the first 
Argonne campaign which had laid him aside 
for months, and a maimed hand spoke of the 
grave days of Verdun when corps commander 
and fantassin alike faced imminent death. 
His deep-set grey eyes were at once shy and 



92 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

masterful, and in every line of his worn face 
were gentleness and self-control. He spoke 
almost perfect English, and Colonel Lamont, 
who had welcomed him in halting French, re- 
lapsed with a sigh of relief into his native 
tongue. 

Lady Sevenoaks greeted him with the 
warmth of a privileged friend, Mrs. Aspenden 
with the reverence with which she would have 
received a Prince of the Church, and Mrs. 
Lavender with something approaching that 
curtsy which she would have refused to any 
crowned head on the globe; the young men 
stood to attention as if on parade; and Mr. 
Jonas, in his hero-worship, forbore to make 
any remark till he had finished his porridge. 

After the meal the General took his hostess 
aside. "Have you perhaps a Madame Snooks 
staying in the house?" he asked. "I desire to 
be presented to her." 

Mrs. Lamont hastily repeated the names 
of the women. The General reflected and 
found enlightenment. **I beg your pardon," 
he said, laughing; *'I am getting old and 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 93 

stupid. Snooks! But, of course, no. It is my 
blunder." And he hastened to compliment 
Lady Sevenoaks on her morning freshness 
and on the distinguished public services of 
her husband. 

It was a day of steady rain. "Confound it,'* 
said Colonel Lamont. "This will fill up the 
Lith, and there will be no hope of getting Mac- 
millan away from it." In the house there was 
a large and pleasant room, half library, half 
smoking-room, which was the usual rendez- 
vous on wet days. Many fine heads of deer 
adorned the walls, and the bookshelves 
contained the assortment of hterature com- 
mon in Scottish country houses — old three- 
volume editions of Sir Walter Scott's novels, 
the proceedings of antiquarian and agricul- 
tural societies, and odd works of eighteenth- 
century di\dnity. Colonel Lamont had else- 
where in the house a well-appointed Hbrary, 
and this room was the backwater into which 
drifted the less regarded volumes. 

Here during the morning most of the men 
found themselves assembled, with eyes turn- 



94 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ing from the wet window-panes to the glowing 
peat fire. Mr. Lenchard and General Morier 
stood talking on the hearth-rug; Mr. Maldwin 
was deep in a volume of Jorrocks, with his 
legs swung over the arm of his chair; Sir 
William Jacob and Mr. Wyper were writing 
letters; and Christopher Normand was dozing 
over a three-days-old Times. 

Mr. Wyper finished his correspondence and 
joined the two by the fire. 

"I am afraid Lady Sevenoaks rather tra- 
duced me last night," he told Mr. Lenchard. 
"Morally, of course, I never classed Imperial- 
ists with Pan-Germans. If you had clearly 
envisaged your aims — which you never did 
— you might be liable to the charge. But 
what difference, except in degree, was there 
between your ' self-suflScing Empire' and the 
Germany which Biilow and Ballin dreamed 
oi? You too wanted to set yourselves outside 
and above the comradeship of nations.'* 

Mr. Lenchard regarded with some disfavour 
the restless being before him. 

"Nobody ever preached a self-sufficing 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 95 

Empire. It was a fiction of our opponents. 
What we advocated was the development of 
a closer union between the parts of that Em- 
pire. Only a fool, if he has to Hve in the world, 
seeks to cut himself off from the world." 

"Will you tell me what is this Imperial- 
ism.''" General Morier asked. "For many 
years I have had little leisure to study, and 
I know it only as a name." 

Mr. Lenchard turned with a smile to the 
General. 

"You ask me a good deal," he said. "But 
I will try to tell you what I mean by it. Like 
every big thing, people interpreted it in 
different ways." 

He lit his pipe, pulled up an armchair, and 
stretched his long legs to the fire. 

"First, I believed in the big social unit. In 
our complicated world you cannot limit any 
question territorially, and the big questions 
need a big space for settlement. Therefore, 
like Germany, I believed in great nations 
administering great tracts of land. No. It 
was n't grandeur. General. It was common 



96 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

sense. I wanted to create a new patriotism 
for the big unit, which would not supersede 
the smaller patriotisms but would safeguard 
them. I believe that to be a right deduction 
from history. Take the case of Scotland. If 
Scotland had remained a little separate king- 
dom, like Holland, she would have lost her 
Scottishness. The struggle for life would have 
rubbed away her idioms of language and lit- 
erature, thought and manners and tradition. 
But, being part of the British Empire, she 
can cherish all her idiosyncrasies, and at the 
same time feel a genuine devotion to the 
bigger unit which she has done so much to 
create." 

The Frenchman nodded. "That is truth," 
he said. 

"Well, then, I wanted the Empire for three 
reasons. One was its economic value. These 
islands were over-industrialised, and to give 
our people a wholesome life we needed more 
space. A second was its moral value. The 
duties of Empire brought fresh air into our 
politics, and gave our young men a richer 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 97 

field of service. Thirdly, I wanted it as a safe- 
guard of peace. The hope of peace, to-day as 
in the Middle Ages, lies in a community of 
law, interests, and culture over the biggest 
possible area. We could not restore right away 
the unity of Christendom, but the British 
Empire was the first instalment." 

"That is clear," said General Morier, and 
Mr. Wyper, whose mouth was opened to 
questions, forbore, for the Frenchman went 
on: "There is nothing in what you say that 
France would not subscribe to. I see in it none 
of that universalism which I dread." 

"What effect has the war had on your 
views, Philip?" Christopher Normand asked. 

"It has not changed them. In a sense it has 
justified them. But, thank God, it has also 
superseded them." 

General Morier looked anxious. 

"Are you then a convert to universalism?" 

"I hope not," said Mr. Lenchard, "for 
I never heard a more beastly word. But I 
am a convert to the closer interconnection oi 
all peoples. We are in for Democracy every- 



98 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

where, and we have got to safeguard the world 
against its defects. Its biggest danger is that 
the people become absorbed in their domestic 
problems, and, while the State extends its 
area of control over national life, there is a 
perpetual risk of a country intensifying its 
self-consciousness to the point of truculent 
independence. We have lost the old cosmo- 
politan society which kept the upper classes 
of Europe in touch with each other, and we 
are in danger of leaving foreign relations to 
a small body of disregarded experts. That is 
simply foolishness, for however nice you make 
your house and garden it won't be a desirable 
dwelling unless you see that the amenities of 
the neighbourhood are preserved. . . . Well, 
the war has shown us, I think, that we can't 
live apart from the rest of the world. Most 
people now see that foreign affairs are as 
much a part of their politics as an increase in 
the income tax. But unless we get the right 
kind of machinery we shall always tend to 
sink back to the old absorption in home 
questions. We have to orientate the parish 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 99 

pump with a wider world. I used to think 
that the Empire was enough for the purpose, 
but now I see that we want nothing short of 
humanity at large." 

INIr. Wyper expressed his approval. "Your 
definition of Imperialism," he said, "was pure 
Prussianism. It was exactly what the parson 
here was defending last Sunday, when he 
warned us not to despise Germany's ideals. 
I could parallel every one of your points out 
of Delbriick. But I welcome a belated convert 
to the League of Nations. There, at any rate, 
we are in agreement." 

"I don't think we should agree long," said 
Mr. Lenchard. "You want to blur all nation- 
ality into a soft, pulpy thing. I want to make 
it harder and craggier than ever. Before we 
can have a League of Nations we must have 
the nations, and that's what you fellows for- 
get." 

jNIr. Wyper would fain have retorted, but 
at that moment Mr. Jonas and Mr. Burford 
entered the room. They had been for a walk 
in the rain, and the wet glistened on their 



100 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

faces. Mr. Lenchard, at the request of the 
General, continued: 

*'I believe in a League of Nations on the 
same grounds as I believed in Imperialism. 
The least important is that it is the only 
guarantee of peace. I will give you a reason 
which should appeal to Jonas. We in Britain 
have to face a complete reconstruction of in- 
dustrial life. Thank Heaven, we mean busi- 
ness this time and won't be allowed to trifle 
with it. But, if industry is a world-wide thing, 
how are we going to give our people a better 
life if elsewhere on the globe we have to com- 
pete with the cheap products of the dark ages? 
Believe me, a country which develops its in- 
dustrial life on purely nationalist lines will 
end in disaster. It will either fail and starve, 
or it will go to war like Germany. I am not a 
Socialist, but I have always admitted the 
good sense of the Internationale. The Social- 
ists saw the world-wide ramifications of the 
things that interested them, and they made 
an honest attempt to provide adequate ma- 
chinery. ... I won't bother you with other 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 101 

reasons, except to say this. The moral and 
imaginative value which some of us found in 
Imperialism is to be found in a far fuller 
measure in the conception of a working union 
of all civilised peoples." 

General Morier sadly shook his head. *'I 
do not deny the splendour of the conception, 
but I fear that it is too splendid for an im- 
perfect world. It will weaken the homely 
intimacies of race and country, which have 
about them the glamour of ages. How can 
you get that long-descended reverence with 
which to invest your brand-new League.^" 

*'I think," said Mr. Lenchard, "that the 
difficulties are enormous, but that most of 
them will vanish if they are faced by a reso- 
lute good will. As for the sanction, we must 
make it. We must create an international 
mood, and make men as loyal to mankind as 
they are to their own lands. It can be done 
and it will be done. The larger patriotism does 
not destroy the smaller, for men are loyal to 
the British Empire as well as to England or 
Canada, and a Frenchman loves France as 



102 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

much as his Normandy village. But it needs," 
he concluded, fixing his eye on Mr. Wyper, 
"the devil of a lot of wisdom, and the thing 
will be wrecked at the start if it is left to 
feeble intellectuals who profess for the world 
a devotion which they refuse to their own 
country." 

"That's a bit 'ard," said Mr. Jonas, grin- 
ning. "I am 'eart and soul for the League, but 
I 'm puzzled to know how it 's going to work. 
I don't like the folk that call themselves 
jurists." 

"No more do I," said Christopher Nor- 
mand from the depths of his armchair. "They 
usually come from Guatemala or Peru. They 
start by talking about Solon and Lycurgus 
and they end by being squared." 

"What I mean to say," Mr. Jonas con- 
tinued, "is that I'm afraid of the League be- 
coming too much of a State and giving us a 
double dose of politics. Lord knows we have 
enough to satisfy us at present!" 

"I don't agree," said Mr. Lenchard. "We 
want more of the State and not less, and you. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 103 

as a good Socialist, Jonas, should agree with 
me. You made an excellent speech the other 
day in which you told your people that their 
first loyalty was owed to the State and not to 
their Union or their class. We want to uphold 
the State as against all sectional organisa- 
tions. I don't want to see men brigaded by 
classes and interests. I want to see every man 
a citizen first and a Trade-Unionist or an 
employer second. And I want a World State 
to supersede any Internationale, for it will 
deal with the whole complex of political life 
and not with a fraction." 

Mr. Lenchard had squared his shoulders 
and was embarking on a fuller exposition, 
when the sound of the luncheon-gong fell on 
the ears of the party. Luncheon on a wet day 
in a Highland lodge is apt to be a dreary meal, 
but on this occasion the presence of General 
Morier lent it an agreeable excitement. There 
also appeared Mr. Merryweather Malone, 
who had arrived the night before and had 
stayed in bed during the morning to cure a 
cold. He was a large man of some forty-odd 



104 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

years, who combined a plump body with a 
lean countenance. His greeting of his fellow 
guests was marked by the ceremonious dig- 
nity common among American gentlemen; 
his greeting of Mrs. Lavender was touched 
with a romantic regret for lost opportunities, 
Speaking through a heavy catarrh, he an- 
nounced that he believed that he had staved 
off the pneumonia which had seemed a sure 
thing when he awoke, and was now ready for a 
little nourishment. 

General Morier continued the conversation 
of the smoking-room. 

*'You English are too idealist," he said. 
"You strive after the impossible and have 
a passion for uniting incompatibles. We of 
France take our stand on the solid ground of 
European tradition. We revere the wisdom of 
our forefathers. We believe in the perfecti- 
bility of mankind — but not yet awhile. We 
do not think that even this great war has 
changed human nature, and we would not 
have it changed. We love the fallible thing 
which is France more deeply than any cloudy 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 105 

cosmopolitan fatherland. You cannot break 
with the past, my friends, and you dare not 
forget history." 

Mr. Jonas signified his assent. "I am always 
preaching more 'ist'ry," he said. 

"I wonder if you realise what a difficult 
patch Britain has to hoe," said Mr. Normand. 
"France is European, America is American. 
We're European on one side and American 
on another, and a great many things besides. 
We're a far more complicated piece to fit 
into the international jig-saw puzzle." 

*'Our difficulties are our strength,'* Mr. 
Lenchard cried. "Because we're no one thing 
in particular we're everything. We're the 
eternal hyphen in a new era." 

"Perhaps," said the General, with a smile 
at Mr. Lenchard's enthusiasm. "Nevertheless 
you seek two incompatibles, a world politically 
united, and a spiritual unity which will alone 
make the other possible. That was your argu- 
ment this morning. Well, I say they are in- 
compatibles, and I look to history for the 
proof. In the Roman Empire you had political 



106 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

union, but you had a thousand clashing faiths. 
Then came Christianity. In the Middle Ages 
you had spiritual unity, but a world all split 
into warring races. You may have one or the 
other, but not both, and it is both you seek. 
You are too idealist." 

"Perhaps we are," said Mr. Lenchard. 
"Nevertheless we must attempt the impos- 
sible, for there is no other way. And after all. 
General, mankind has advanced chiefly by 
attempting and achieving the incredible. In 
four years Britain created out of nothing one 
of the most successful armies in the world. 
You yourself at Verdun defied every law of 
probability." 

General Morier bowed. "I am a lover of 
daring, my friend. Perhaps it is not on that 
ground I oppose you. The trouble is that I 
do not like your new world. I think of France, 
now these many centuries old and yet eter- 
nally young. I rejoice to see her head held 
high among the nations. I would have her 
strong through wise alliances, and modest in 
her strength, for being old she is well-bred, 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 107 

and does not need to boast like a parvenu. We 
and you together, and the Americans, are 
security enough for peace, for though we are 
unhke, yet our quahties supplement each 
other and the sum is political wisdom. I do 
not like to think of my country shorn of her 
strength for defence, which is the pride of 
every man and every people, and surrendering 
her honour to an international debating soci- 
ety." 

"Why not?" asked Mr. Wyper. "We have 
abolished duelling and leave our disputes for 
the law to settle." 

"The parallel is not exact. Duelling, it is 
true, is infrequent, and so I hope will be war. 
But every true man is still able and willing, 
if need be, to defend his honour, his wife, his 
family, with his own hand. You would take 
from my nation the power to do likewise." 

Mr. Wyper admitted that he would. 

"Then I do not like it. You would destroy 
the old way, but you will not change human- 
ity, and the day will come when your League 
will break and you will have to face the 



108 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ancient mischief with untrained arms and a 
broken tradition. We French love real things 
and do not walk with our heads in the air. 
We believe that God has a holy city prepared 
for us, but not this side the grave. So in the 
meantime we chng to our little terrestrial 
towns." And he quoted: 

"Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour les cites charneUes, 
Car elles sont le corps de la cite de Dieu." 

The beauty of his voice and the gentleness 
of his manner had a curious effect on the 
others. It made Mrs. Lavender want to cry, 
and Mrs. Aspenden's face assumed that air 
of devotion which it wore during the minis- 
trations of Father Mabbett. Mr. Burford was 
also greatly impressed, and, removing his 
spectacles, blinked earnestly at the speaker. 

It was at this moment that a visitor ap- 
peared on the scene. Mr. Archibald Strath- 
bungo, the new Member for the county, was 
a young man already celebrated in the half- 
world of politics. He had been private secre- 
tary to an eminent statesman, and had made 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 109 

for himself a high reputation as an adroit 
tactician. No man could more subtly influence 
the Press or had a keener nose for electoral 
possibilities, and to him was generally at- 
tributed the unique success of the Coalition 
at the polls. He was slight and boyish of 
figure, with close-cropped black hair, large 
restless eyes, and the jaw of an Old Bailey 
lawyer. Whence he sprung no one knew, but 
his speech had the racy idiom of the environs 
of Glasgow. To an immense circle of acquaint- 
ances he was known as "Bunggie." 

He introduced himself to his host, who pre- 
sented him to the company. With some, such 
as Mrs. Lavender and Mr. Jonas, he was al- 
ready acquainted. Lady Sevenoaks regarded 
him with a stare of abhorrence, seeing in him 
a shameless enemy. A place was laid for him, 
and he fell with zest to luncheon. 

"How's the cold, Mr. Malone.^" he asked. 
"You wouldn't take my advice and try a 
rummer of hot whisky. Man, teetotaller or no, 
it's a mistake to despise the best medicine 
God ever made." 



110 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Malone inquired as to the health of 
the owner of the yacht in which he had 
travelled the previous day. 

"He's fine. He's got a new maggot in his 
head about making Persian rugs on Highland 
looms with native dyes. I like old Linkum- 
doddie," he added, turning brightly to Colonel 
Lamont. *'If it were n't for his yawt I'd never 
get about these islands. I've a kind of pull 
with him, for I spoke a word in the right 
quarter about his peerage and I think he 
knows it." 

"Linkumdoddie," murmured Lady Penel- 
ope Wyper. "I'm sure there's no such name 
in the peerage." 

"You'll find it in the Profiteerage," Mr. 
Normand whispered. 

Mr. Strathbungo had broken utterly the 
spell cast by General Morier. An air of rollick- 
ing candour sat on him, and one might have 
suspected him of innocence but for his alert 
eyes. It was not long before Mr. Wj^per had 
roused him to argument by a complaint of 
certain electioneering methods. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 111 

"Ugh, away," said the gentleman. *' There's 
some of you folk too high-minded for this 
world as long as you're on the losing side. 
When you see a chance of winning there's 
nothing you won't do. Just look at the Lib- 
erals. They were always declaring that the 
party system was the root of the Constitu- 
tion, until they saw that the Tories were likely 
to beat them at the game, and then they had 
no words bad enough for party spirit. I'm a 
plain man, and I believe in parties, same as I 
believe in nations. You've got to fight and 
win, and then you do the best you can for the 
country." 

"I presume you do not believe in any 
Hague Convention about the methods of 
party warfare, Mr. Strathbungo," said Lady 
Sevenoaks acidly. 

*'I don't. There's just one convention to 
keep in mind, and that's human nature. The 
man that understands human nature wins.'* 

*'And you would defend an appeal to the 
people on the programme of 'anging the 
Kaiser and making Germany pay for every- 



112 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

thing, when you know both are impossible? " 
asked Mr. Jonas. 

"I don't know they're impossible, and I 
defend them right enough. They were my 
own idea. We would have lost the election if 
we had gone on talking about brotherhood 
and the 'spirit of the trenches' and all that 
hot air. What you object to were the only 
things the voters cared a rush about. You 
Labour chaps did the same thing, only you 
were n't clever enough. You started yowling 
about Conscription, when you knew there 
was n't a man on our side who did n't loathe 
the very name of it." 

Mrs. Lamont's mild spirit was stirred. "It 
all sounds very wicked," she said. 

"Oh, I don't think so," said Mr. Strath- 
bungo genially. "It's the rules of the game. 
The people want to fight and it's your busi- 
ness to show them sport. You 've got to fight 
on the issues they prefer." 

"Such is Democracy," said General Morier 
softly. 

Mr, Normand leaned over to him. "We 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 113 

English are too idealist," he whispered, and 
the Frenchman smiled. 

Mr. Strathbungo caught an echo of the 
phrase. "That's an awful word," he said. 
"I'm not very particular, but I wouldn't 
like to be an ideahst. It 's a poor, milk-blooded, 
blue-spectacled sort of business." 

Colonel Lamont was ill at ease. He had 
never met the new Member before, and dis- 
approved of him strongly; but his sense of 
hospitality held him in an embarrassed silence. 
Not so Lady Guidwillie. With her grimmest 
smile she addressed Mr. Strathbungo. 

"You had a meeting at Waucht in Decem- 
ber," she said. "I wasn't present, but if I 
had been I would have moved a vote of no 
confidence. You talked some precious non- 
sense about the land." 

Coffee having been served, Mr. Strath- 
bungo was smoking — a cigar set in an amber 
mouthpiece which stuck in a corner of his 
wide, loose mouth. 

"Let's hear what the nonsense was," he 
said pleasantly. 



114 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"You told them that the land in the High- 
lands could be made to support five times the 
present population, if they got rid of the land- 
lords. I'll give you leave to try at Waucht. 
I pay twenty-five shillings in the pound for 
rates, and there are n't twenty acres on the 
estate you could get a plough through." 

Mr. Strathbungo suddenly became a dif- 
ferent person. He laid down his cigar and his 
whimsical face grew solemn. Also the veneer 
of English accent disappeared and he spoke 
in the unabashed drawl of his native city. 

"I wasn't referring to Waucht," he said. 
"There's not much could live at Waucht, ex- 
cept deer. And I was n't speaking of landlords 
like your folk. You 're the old kind, who think 
first of their people and would starve rather 
than let them starve. But I stick to every 
word I said about the Highlands at large. 
They 're stuffed with Englishmen and Ameri- 
cans and Jews that come only for their amuse- 
ment and don't care a docken about the place. 
Oh, they spend money. I know it. But they 
spend it to make people slaves, and I would 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 115 

rather have the Highlander poor and free. 
I 'm one myself, and my blood boils when I see 
big trencher-fed gillies crawling before a Lon- 
don shopkeeper." 

"Democracy! Democracy!" said Mr. Nor- 
mand. 

"Democracy be blowed! The Highlands 
were never democratic — never in that way. 
But they used to be free. Tell me, Colonel, did 
ever men fight better than the Highland bat- 
talions? They've earned the right to the use 
of their native land. Are you willing to have 
that land only a playground and a resort for 
honeymoon couples, and its chief export pic- 
ture postcards? You ask Macmillan, the min- 
ister. He '11 tell you of the old days when there 
were droves of black cattle on ground that 
now has nothing but deer. You can't restore 
those days, but you can bring in modern in- 
ventions. You can make the finest fishing 
industry in Britain if you take trouble about 
canning factories and transport. You can 
start the old cottage industries again. You 
can introduce sheep where they should be 



116 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

instead of deer, and cattle where they should 
be instead of sheep, and the plough where it 
should be instead of pasture. But the first 
thing you've got to do is to emancipate the 
land from the idle rich." 

Lady Guidwillie regarded the speaker al- 
most with affection. ''There's some sense in 
your head, Mr. Strathbungo. I rather wish I 
had been at your meeting. I might have 
seconded the vote of confidence." 

"Of course you would!" he cried. "The 
real gentry like you should be on my side. 
Do you think I came to this part of the world 
for fun. 5^ I have dreamed of the job ever since I 
could stand on two legs, and now the war has 
given me a chance. I am not going to rest as 
long as there's an acre of Highland ground 
lying idle that can be used to support human 
life. What 's left over can go to sport. I like a 
day with the gun myself." 

Mr. Jonas, who had been vastly entertained 
shook his head. 

"You can't do it, Bunggie. Your old CoaH- 
tion depends on the idle rich." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 117 

The young man forgot his manners. " Then 
I'll see the Coalition in Tophet," he said, with 
a ferocity that produced a sudden silence. 

General Morier leaned towards Mr. Nor- 
mand. "I was right," he said. "You English 
— all of you — are too idealist." 



vn 

The visit to the Sea Sherries and Lord Linkitmdoddie's 
yacht. Mr. Merryweather Malone enlarges on the gulf be- 
tween British and American minds and the embarrass- 
ments of his own land. He differs Jrom General Morier 
and comforts him uritk texts. 

During the night a wind rose which blew 
away the rain, and on Thursday morning the 
island woke to blue skies and a world washed 
clean. The little hill streams were still in 
spate, but the strong sun dried the ground, so 
that after breakfast it was possible for Mr. 
Strathbungo to smoke his first cigar seated 
on a bank of heather above the lawn, where 
he was volubly appreciating the prospect. 
He, General Morier, and Mr. Malone had to 
leave that afternoon, and it was arranged 
that the morning should be spent on the 
little isles known as the Sea Skerries, where 
they could be picked up for luncheon by 
Lord Linkumdoddie's yacht, in which the 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 119 

three departing guests were to continue their 
journey. 

There must be an attraction between oppo- 
sites, for General Morier showed a curious 
Hking for Mr. Strathbungo's society. He had 
played billiards with him the evening before 
and been soundly beaten, and he now took his 
seat beside him on the heather. 

"You have told me many things," he said, 
"but you have not spoken about the League 
of Nations. We were discussing it yesterday 
when you arrived. You are a British politician 
— what you call a practical man. What do 
you say to it?" 

Mr. Strathbungo winked solemnly at his 
questioner. 

"It's all right," he said. "Personally I'm 
not much heeding about it. It 's not the kind 
of business that interests me. But it 's a grand 
thing to keep some folks quiet. You see^ 
General, most folk are not men of the world 
like you and me. They like hot air and fine 
sentiment, and the great thing is to give them 
a subject where they can safely indulge their 



120 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

taste. They can blow ofiF all the steam they 
want about the League of Nations without 
doing much harm." 

"But for the scheme itself you do not care 
— how is it you say? — a docken?'* 

"Well, I would n't just say that. I'm quite 
ready to be enthusiastic about the parliament 
of man and the federation of the world, and 
all the rest of it. But I don't regard it as very 
practical politics." 

"And yet it is in the forefront of the Peace 
deliberations." 

"It had to be. We had to satisfy America, 
and it turns out we only satisfied Wilson. . . . 
Well, they can fight it out as they like for me. 
If the thing goes phut, I'm not caring. If it 
succeeds, good and well. Anyhow, it's a fine 
safety-valve and makes a lot of wind-bags 
happy. I'm all for keeping a subject hke that 
as a standing diversion for what you call 
idealists." 

As they walked down to the shore. General 
Morier found himself in company with Chris- 
topher Normand and Mr. Burford. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 121 

*'I like the young Stratlibungo," he said. 
**He is a good and merry fellow. But I think 
he is a relic of the old life before the war, for 
he has not been touched by it. I wonder how 
he contrived it. Have you many like him?" 

"Heaps," said Mr. Normand. "All the pro- 
fessional politicians. They are by no means 
dead, and nothing changes them. If there was 
a universal convulsion and we were all sud- 
denly back in the Palaeolithic age they would 
be organising caucuses next morning among 
the cave-men." 

Mr. Burford took a more hopeful view. 
*'You won't find many. Only a few middle- 
aged folk who have no children. I go about 
among the towns and villages of England and 
I hardly come across a man who has n't had 
his world knocked endways by the war. They 
can't remember the life they lived five years 
ago. For good or for bad, mankind's got a 
jog out of its rut." 

"I don't know. What about America?" 

"Ah, America," said General Morier. "A 
great and most curious country." His air was 



122 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

such as miglit have been worn by a mediseval 
geographer puzzHng over a modern atlas. 

The short journey to the Skerries was per- 
formed in heavy salmon-cobles rowed by 
sturdy fishermen. It was indeed a marvellous 
day, the sunlight dancing on the ripples, the 
big hills of the mainland showing blue and 
distant, oyster-catchers and terns piping on 
the shingle, and every corner of shore a nook 
of greenery. When the Skerries were reached, 
some of the party set off to visit the ruins of a 
monastery famous in Church history. General 
Morier, who had been ingeminating America 
as Lord Falkland ingeminated Peace, stayed 
behind with Mr. Malone, and the two, along 
with Mrs. Lavender, Mr. Burford, and Pen- 
rose MacAndrew, seated themselves on the 
top of a little cliff which was crowned with a 
thatch of young heather. 

"I'm sorry to leave," said Mr. Malone. 
"I'm always mighty sorry to leave any part 
of this little country. I 'm a lover of England, 
Martha, though I don't forsake my native 
land like you. I wish America were planted 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 123 

right here, for then there would be a better 
chance of our getting to like each other." 

Mr. Burford inquired concerning American 
opinion regarding Britain. 

"It's better," said Mr. Malone. "You can't 
fight in the same trenches against the same 
Hun without feeling a kind of sympathy. But 
there 's plenty of room for improvement. The 
trouble is we have too much in common. We 
can't help feeling we are near relations, and 
that riles us. If there was n't so much English- 
ness in the United States, we 'd think England 
a fine museum-piece and revere her." 

"No," he said, in reply to a question by 
Mr. Burford. "It isn't Irish and German 
propaganda or lying history books or dam- 
fool Englishmen on their travels. The main 
cause is right deep down in our nature. We 
speak pretty well the same language, but we 
have n't the same way of looking at things. 
We have n't the same sense of humour, and 
that's a difference that would divorce hus- 
band and wife. You pitch the case too low, 
and we think it funny to put it sky-high. One 



124 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

day last summer I was in a bit of the line 
which the British were holding next door to 
the Americans. There was a horrid great shell- 
ing all morning. Our boys said they reckoned 
that hell and Vesuvius had been having 
a bowling-match. An English sergeant I 
spoke to admitted when he was pressed — 
when he was pressed, remember — that the 
Kaiser might have been a bit 'asty that morn- 
ing. When we think poorly of a man, we say 
he's so low down he'd want an aeroplane to 
get up to hell. You'd mention he was an out- 
sider and trouble no more about him. . . . 
Then there 's what you call your Oxford man- 
ner. We've got that, too, but only in Boston, 
but with you it's in the bone. You're so 
darned genteel and superior. And the fellows 
among you that are always explaining Eng- 
land to America by abusing the Oxford man- 
ner have got it worst of all. An American don't 
like to say anything against his country, even 
when he knows she's in the wrong. \Mien he 
hears an Englishman criticising England he 
puts it down as another example of his blamed 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 125 

superciliousness. . . . You see, we're a young 
nation and very sentimental, and don't mind 
showing it. You're an old people and a crit- 
ical, and you'd rather die than admit your 
feelings. Why, our business, that we think so 
much of, is a form of sentiment. It's the big 
ideas that get us, and we roll them round our 
tongue and plan to astonish the world. Some- 
times we get there and sometimes we don't. 
You pride yourself on being unbusinesslike, 
but you often get there sooner." 

"Seems to me you've acquired the Oxford 
manner yourself, Merry weather," said Mrs. 
Lavender. 

Mr. Malone laughed. "We've all got a bit 
of it, ever since Abel. It was that that made 
Cain mad. But I'm not going to blame my 
country's foibles, though I see them right 
enough. I prefer them to other people's sense. 
This old world 's getting too logical, and you 
can't be happy that way. Very soon America 
will be the only place left for a white man, for 
she don't give a cent for logic. . . . Just look 
at our labour troubles. We quarrel a bit, but 



126 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

we are never near the eternal rock-bottom 
you've struck in Europe." 

Mr. Burford was much interested. 

"That's quite true, but you can't keep it 
always that way. Up to now you've led the 
sheltered life, very little concerned with your 
neighbours and plenty to go on with at home. 
You've been able to provide so much jam, or 
the near prospect of jam, that you 've kept the 
children quiet. But the children are growing 
up, remember. What are you going to do when 
your fluid classes solidify and you bump up 
against the old questions that perplex the 
rest of the world.^^ You'll be pretty raw to the 
job, Mr. Malone. I've seen a lot of America, 
and in ordinary political education you 're the 
most backward land on the globe. Your 
Labour leaders still talk the language of the 
'seventies and 'eighties. But that's changing 
every day, and you 've got to get busy about 
your education. You are n't a peculiar people 
any more, and you can't shut yourself off 
from the rest of the world." 

"We are going to have a darned good try,'* 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 127 

said Mr. Malone. "I don't say there's not 
truth in your view — I think there 's a lot of 
truth. I've said the same thing myself, and 
that's why hitherto I have been such a con- 
spicuous failure in public life. But it's going 
to be a large-size job to shift America from 
her dug-out. She is the only decent conserva- 
tive left, and she hates real change like hell. 
She was very willing to fight, but now she 
wants to get back to the farm straightaway 
and hammer her sword into a ploughshare." 

"But you're a business people," said Mr. 
Burford, "and you must want to see the job 
through." 

"We never finish anything," said Mr. 
Malone — "not in politics. Look at Mexico. 
Look at the progress of our Reform move- 
ment. Our Httle old Constitution was ex- 
pressly framed to prevent us doing anything 
drastic. We're all for compromise and half- 
way houses. We're mighty English, far more 
English than you. ... I tell you, Mr. Wilson 
has got a tougher proposition to put through 
than anything George Washington handled. 



128 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

. . . There's just a chance of his falling down 
over it and America establishing a Republic.'* 

"If you're right, Merry weather," said Mrs. 
Lavender, "I'm going to hustle William back 
to the States right now and take a hand in the 
fight. What side are you on, anyway.'^" 

" I 'm a good Republican," said Mr. Malone, 
*'but I'm for Wilson. I'm not going to put 
it too high, Martha, for we'd like you back 
with us, but I think he's going to win out if 
he handles the thing in the right way. There 's 
just one winning ticker for him." 

Mr. Malone bit the end off his cigar and 
borrowed a match from Penrose MacAndrew. 

"You've maybe observed, Penrose," he 
said, "that we Americans are a profoundly 
religious people.'* 

General Morier looked startled, and Mrs. 
Lavender denied the charge. " Utterly pagan," 
she said. 

"No," said Mr. Malone, "you're wrong, 
Martha. You 're getting short in the memory. 
We have fits of paganism, but we're never 
happy in them. We know we're backsliders 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 129 

and pretty soon we repent. . . . We're very 
religious, but it's our own special kind. We 
are not interested in your European brand of 
church. Our type is the field preaching, and 
we always get back to it. Getting converted 
is our national pastime. What put us into the 
war? I reckon the village prayer meeting, first 
and foremost, and please God, it's going to 
put us into peace. All our religions that count 
are revivalisms, whether it 's Billy Sunday or 
Mamie B. Eddy that professes to have the 
goods. Revivalism is the key to the heart of 
America, and if Mr. Wilson 's a good enough 
revivalist he'll win out. He's got to make us 
feel that if we don't do what he tells us we're 
way down on the level of the Impenitent 
Thief." 

Mr. Malone's exposition was interrupted 
by the arrival of the other sight-seers. Lord 
Linkumdoddie's yacht was moored a little 
way out in the channel, and as the hour of 
luncheon had arrived the party embarked 
again in the boats and were rowed towards it. 
It was well that no one of Mr. Malone's hear- 



130 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ers thought fit to repeat his views, for Mrs. 
Aspenden, whose soul had been elevated by 
the sight of Culdee relics, was in no mood for 
for what she would have regarded as profan- 
ity. 

Lord Linkumdoddie was a man of sixty, on 
whose slim shoulders was set an enormous 
and beautifully shaped head. He had a trick 
of smiling secretly to himself as if amused by 
the world, and he spoke little. His vast for- 
tune had no heir, and he was in the habit of 
dispensing benefactions so colossal that the 
popular mind was dulled by their sheer mag- 
nitude. He was reputed a hard man of busi- 
ness and intolerant of fools. His position left 
him ample leisure, for he held the view that 
the better organised a business the less it 
required the attention of its head. Travel, the 
collection of old English furniture, and the 
care of a weak digestion were his chief absorp- 
tions. He was also an active and devout mem- 
ber of the Baptist communion. 

The five-hundred-ton yacht showed few 
marks of its war service in the brilliance of its 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 131 

brass-work and the scrupulous whiteness of 
its decks. The large party packed the dining 
cabin, but through the open portholes came 
the cool sea airs. 

Mrs. Lavender gave Christopher Normand 
a summary of Mr. Malone's recent conversa- 
tion, to which Lord Linkumdoddie listened 
with interest. America, the owner of the yacht 
declared, held — not for the first time — 
the key of the situation. 

"I like her for her slowness," he said. "No 
great country changes in a hurry. After all, 
her attitude is the same as ours was a genera- 
tion ago. We strove to keep out of Conti- 
nental entanglements, and proclaimed that 
all our interests lay beyond Europe. A Con- 
servative dislikes changes, but when he alters 
he does it wholesale. Look at the Tory party 
to-day. Look at Britain in 1914. ... I am not 
a Conservative, so I have always preferred 
change." 

"Even industrial revolution.'^" asked Mr. 
Normand. 

"Industrial revolution most of all. I have 



132 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

never worked to make money, and I would 
far rather build up a sound industry than big 
profits. Up to now our whole industrial fabric 
has been preposterous, and I am glad it's 
falling to bits. If they take all my money, I 
can make more. Thank God, I 'm not depend- 
ent on my bank balance.'* 

Lady Guidwillie, who had the misfortune 
to depend upon inherited capital, protested. 

"You're the most dangerous man in the 
country," she told Lord Linkumdoddie. 
"You're an adventurer, and don't mind los- 
ing your stakes, for you know you can win 
them back. But what of us poor people who 
are not so fortunate.'^ " 

Her host smiled reassuringly. "I don't 
think you need worry. Lady Guidwillie. 
There will be no downfall of capital in the 
ordinary sense. But there will be a rooting-up 
of vested interests in men's lives, and I for 
one am glad of it." 

Mr. Jonas had his mouth open to speak, 
when the attention of every one was caught 
by the loud voice of Mr. Malone. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 133 

"America is too antiquarian," he was say- 
ing. "That's the trouble. She sentimentahses 
too much about the past, for you see she 
has n't had very much of it and she cherishes 
what she's got. I say that the world's bound 
to cut loose from its antiques, especially as 
most of them are shams and come from War- 
dour Street. We are all on a pilgrimage, and 
it won't do to load ourselves up with every 
relic picked up by the road and be always 
stopping to moon over them. I 'd keep the old 
maps as a historical record and discard the 
relics, for the one's got some meaning for the 
present day and the other's just junk. Above 
all, it's no good cherishing old grievances." 

"Like Ireland," suggested Christopher 
Normand. 

"Like Ireland," said Mr. Malone. "There's 
an awful warning for you. I'm of Irish stock 
myself, and for our sins we've got a good 
many like me in the States. That poor little 
island is living in a bogus past and trying to 
screw some pride out of it, while she's forget- 
ting to do anything to be proud of right now. 



134 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

The ordinary Irishman is ashamed of himself 
and he has n't the honesty to admit it. No 
man's any good unless he has something to 
swagger about, and Ireland has n't anything 
except a moth-eaten ragbag of wrongs. That's 
her confounded antiquarian habit of mind. 
And the worst of it is that this sentimental 
grieving is n't sincere. Apart from a few poets, 
it's only the stock-in-trade of vulgar career- 
ists. It's enough to make a man sick to hear 
an Irish ward-politician talking about Dark 
Rosaleen. ... If America is too much of a 
stand-patter, there 's a horrid risk of her get- 
ting like Ireland. She has n't grievances, but 
she's got dislikes and false sentiments, and 
that's just about as bad.'* 

General Morier did not agree. 

"I think you are too hard," he said. "These 
things that you despise are very near the 
heart of every honest man. The prejudices of 
a nation are as vital as its principles, and I do 
not desire to see a completely rational bour- 
geois world. Would you apply your maxim to 
Europe also?" 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 135 

"To be sure I would," said Mr. Malone. 
"Britain's forgot a lot, but she's a deal more 
forgetting to do. Italy has a fine assortment 
of useless lumber to jettison." 

"And France?" 

"Yes, France most of all. Look here. Gen- 
eral. I know your country. I want to cry when 
I think of some of the things you've done. 
But youVe got to forget about your suffer- 
ings. You're too big to be a Martyr State. 
The other day you were mad with Mr. Wilson 
because he did n't run off straightaway and 
look at your battle-fields and devastated areas. 
That was maybe a blunder of tact on the 
President's part, but it's a worse blunder if 
you make too much of your wounds. It won't 
do for France to be a sort of Byron among 
peoples, making a pageant of her bleeding 
heart." 

" These things are the war," was the answer. 
"Would you have us forget that?'* 

"Yes," said Mr. Malone stoutly. "It would 
be better to forget it than to be always re- 
membering it. The nations have got a terrific 



136 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

job before them, and they won't ever make 
good if they're always thinking about the 
war. The war has n't solved any problem ex- 
cept the one — which side was the stronger; 
and that does n't help us much except by 
clearing the ground. Therefore, I say we can't 
be always dwelling on it, and referring things 
back to it." 

Mr. Burford had taken off his spectacles, 
and now quoted, as if to himself : " Forgetting 
those things which are behind, and reaching 
forth unto those things which are before, I 
press toward the mark for the prize." 

Mr. Malone warmly approved. "I am with 
Paul there," he said. "He spoke horse-sense 
on most subjects. And, General, for your con- 
solation, I'll give you another text: 'Instead 
of thy fathers thou shalt have children, whom 
thou may est make princes in all lands.' " 

As the rest of the party were rowed shore- 
ward Mrs. Lavender was observed to be deep 
in meditation. On Christopher Normand 
offering her a penny for her thoughts, she ex- 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 137 

plained that she had been reflecting upon the 
case of Mr. Malone. 

**I never saw such a change in a human 
being," she said. "It looks to me as if Merry- 
weather had got religion." 

"Perhaps it is part of his training as Presi- 
dential candidate," said Mr. Normand, and 
was rebuked for his flippancy. 



VIII 

The Minister of the Parish comes to dinner. He warns 
Mr. Jona^ of the brittleness of all Democracies, and in 
turn is 'presented with the just demands of the British 
People. Mr. Burford pleads for an Aristocracy. 

That evening before dinner Mrs. Lament felt 
happy, and she communicated her mood to 
her husband through the open door of his 
dressing-room. 

"I really think," she said, "that this little 
party has been a success. Everybody was in a 
bad humour at the start, but now everybody 
has begun to like each other. I can't help feel- 
ing, Arthur, that if such very different people 
can come to an understanding, the country 
must be able to settle its worst troubles. Don't 
you think so, dear.^^'* 

Colonel Lamont, busied with his tie, had 
his mind on other things. " Macmillan 's an 
infernal ruffian. I asked him to dine to-night 
and he has never answered. It 's most annoy- 
ing, Kathie, with Jonas leaving to-morrow. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 139 

I was most anxious that the two should meet. 
There are times when a passion for fishing 
becomes a positive vice." 

"And, Arthur," continued Mrs. Lamont, 
"I can't think what has come over PhylHs. 
She's a new creature. She has recovered all 
her interest in life. I think it is Mr. Burford, 
for they are always together. I wonder if I 
should do anything about it. She has no 
mother and I feel it is my duty to look after 
her." 

"It would be a dashed good thing," said 
Colonel Lamont, as he brushed his thinning 
hair, "if they took a fancy to each other. 
He 's a most capital good chap. I feel happier 
for merely looking at him. I only wish he'd 
talk more. . . . Confound Macmillan! That's 
another fellow I wanted him to meet." 

But at dinner the erring minister appeared. 
He had been away, he said, when Colonel 
Lamont sent his note, and had only received 
it an hour ago. He was not apologetic; rather 
it seemed that an apology was due to one who, 
with the Lith in perfect order, had been de- 



140 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

prived of an evening's fishing. As he sat at 
table opposite Lady Sevenoaks and between 
his hostess and Mrs. Lavender, his figure was 
hke some stubborn furze bush which had 
strayed into a parterre. He was more Hke a 
deep-sea skipper than ever, as his great grey 
eyes took in the scene before him. So massive 
was his air that even the substantial figure of 
Sir William Jacob seemed weedy by compari- 
son, and so rugged his face that the homely 
countenance of Mr. Jonas seemed almost 
refined. 

"Macmillan," said his host, "you've 
missed a lot of interesting people by your 
confounded obstinacy. You should have been 
dining here every night. We outlandish folk 
don't often get a chance of improving our 
minds. You were a fool to miss Morier. And 
Malone. We've had some uncommonly good 
talk." 

The minister asked what they had talked 
about, and Lady Sevenoaks replied. 

"Everything on earth, and we came to all 
kinds of contradictory conclusions. We were 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 141 

told that we must preserve the historic state, 
and at the same time that we must forget 
most of its history. Mr. Normand does n*t 
much believe in self-government for the na- 
tion, but he would like to see it in industry. 
We are to be more fervent nationalists than 
ever, but to give up most of our national 
rights to an International League. The strik- 
ers who want to hold up the country are not 
Bolsheviks, but Cobden and his poor old 
middle-class friends were the worst kind. We 
must scrap all mediaeval rubbish, and we 
must n't scrap it, because it 's the most valu- 
able stuff we've got. (That was your own 
contribution in your sermon, I think.) The 
working-man is the only real Conservative, 
and the only real Radical. We must n't speak 
about classes, for there is only one class that 
counts and that's the working class, and it's 
not a class, Mr. Jonas says. We all agreed in 
abominating political parties, but Mr. Strath- 
bungo convinced us that they were much 
more important than political ideals, with the 
exception of the confiscation of Highland 



142 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

land, which he thought more important than 
the CoaHtion. ... I think that's a fair 
summary." 

"Lamont," said Mr. Macmillan, "I am 
sorry I stuck to the Lith. I ought to have been 
here. You seem to have talked uncommon 
good sense." 

"Glad to hear you say so," said the host. 
"Lady Sevenoaks makes it sound rather 
foolish." 

"Not a bit. You've pulled all the contra- 
dictions into the light of day. That's what 
we want. Politics are a collection of views, 
most of them contradictory and nearly all of 
them true. Statesmanship means admitting 
the contradictions and paying due respect to 
the half-truths and trying to harmonise them. 
The fool seizes on a half-truth and exaggerates 
it, and pretends it is the whole truth and the 
only truth. The first step in wisdom is to keep 
your balance and not take sides. You seem to 
have followed that rule." 

"\Miat are your politics?'* Mr. WjT)er 
asked. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 143 

*'None," was the answer. "I voted for 
Strathbungo because I liked his candour. I'll 
vote against him as soon as he starts talking 
nonsense about free fishing. That subject de- 
fines my politics. I want everybody to have 
a chance of fishing that likes it, but I want the 
fish to be there to be caught. In the same way 
I want every man in these islands to have a 
better life, more comfort and more leisure, 
but I also want the wealth to be there which 
can give him these things." 

Mr. Jonas seemed struck by an illustration 
which his recent experience on the Lith had 
enabled him to appreciate. He also knew a 
man when he saw him, and Mr. Macmillan's 
steady eyes and sagacious brow were very 
impressive. 

"We've all been talking too much," he 
said. "I'd like to 'ear a fresh voice. What's 
your view of the situation.''" 

The minister laughed. "I'm not a leader- 
writer to be able to give you that. I'm a 
minister of the Gospel, and I'm concerned 
with bigger things than the whirligigs of poli- 



144 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tics. But up here I've time to read and think, 
and I've studied history, so I've certain 
views. You're a Labour leader and a very 
powerful man, Mr. Jonas. You're accustomed 
to be spoken about respectfully in the papers 
and in Parliament. Well, I'm not respectful 
by nature. You remember the story of the 
Scots girl who complained of a shy lover that 
he was 'senselessly ceevil.' You won't get any 
senseless civility from me." 

"Go ahead," said Mr. Jonas. " Jimmie and 
I never mind plain speaking." 

"Well," said the minister, "I don't hke the 
threats that your fellows use. Miners and rail- 
waymen and transport workers, when they 
have a grievance, get up on their hind legs 
and warn the country that they have the 
power and mean to use it. That's folly. In 
the first place, they haven't the power. 
They 're only a fraction of the nation, and if 
they fight in an unjust cause the nation will 
beat them. It may take years, but they '11 be 
beaten in the end. The workers have never 
won, and never will win, unless they 're in the 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 145 

right. Why this stupid bluster? Bluster means 
smugness, remember. What madness possessed 
you in the Coal Commission to entrust your 
case to advertising journalists.'' You did n't 
come out of it extra well. The ordinary Briton 
rather prefers a stupid coal-master to those 
glib gentlemen. And he enormously prefers 
Lord Durham. . . . Secondly, a settlement by 
force, even if it succeeded, would be no real 
settlement. It 's sheer Prussianism to think it 
would, and the sooner your fellows learn the 
lesson of the war the better." 

Mr. Jonas nodded. "I'm with you there. 
But it's ill 'olding angry and ignorant men. 
I grant you that the threat business is wrong." 

"The next thing I have to say is that it's 
time you stopped gloating over the triumph 
of Democracy. You talk as if it were a thing 
inherent in nature, with all the forces of 
nature working on its side. You're in error. 
It's a fine thing, but it's the most brittle 
thing on earth, and it can be maintained only 
by constant watchfulness and sacrifice. Cast 
your mind back in history and consider how 



146 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

short has been the reign of Democracy com- 
pared with that of any other form of govern- 
ment. It began a long time ago, but it's never 
had more than the briefest run. Man, do you 
remember how somebody in Herodotus spoke 
of it hke a lover as being lovely in the very 
sound of its name, and twenty-five years later 
you had a popular Athenian statesman — 
popular, I say — declaring it was hardly 
worth discussion since it was 'acknowledged 
insanity'? You will say that that was long 
ago, and that the world is safer for it now. 
It is n't. Democracy had a better chance of 
life in the little State. In our dense modern 
world we can only exist by the help of law 
and order, and you get order more easily — 
I don't say better, but more easily — from 
the autocrat." 

Mr. Jonas again assented. *'I'm not deny- 
ing that. I'm a student of 'ist'ry myself." 

"Thirdly and lastly," said Mr. Macmillan, 
*'go canny with liberty. It's by no means the 
same thing as Democracy, but in this country 
we want both. We must treat it reverently, 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 147 

for it also is a delicate plant. I think," he 
added, looking round the company, "that 
liberty is hke the car of the goddess Nerthus, 
which once a year was brought from its island 
home to travel among the German tribes. 
Wherever it went, it left increase and happi- 
ness and peace, but no man was allowed to lay 
hand upon it. . . . Liberty is too precious a 
thing for fools to paw." 

The minister's remarks had revived Mrs. 
Lamont's fears, now for some days dormant. 

"Are you afraid of the future, then, Mr. 
Macmillan.?" she asked. 

He laughed. "I don't think I'm afraid of 
anything except a prosecution for heresy in 
the Courts of my Church." 

Mrs. Aspenden sighed, as if she thought that 
a consummation to be devoutly wished for. 
Mr. Macmillan was not her idea of a priest. 

" But Bolshevism.'* " quavered Mrs. Lamont. 

"Oh, Bolshevism! I regard the mild British 
variety as an inoculation against the danger- 
ous foreign kind. We would n't be human if 
we did n't have a dose of it." 



148 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Jonas was looking curiously at the 
speaker, and their eyes met. Something in 
each pleased the other, and they smiled with 
that sudden understanding that is occasion- 
ally arrived at between men who have but 
newly met. 

"I apologise, Lamont," said Mr. Mac- 
millan. "I've been talking as if I were in the 
pulpit. I did n't come here to talk, but to 
listen. I want instruction, since I have been 
foolish enough to go fishing all the week. . . . 
Mr. Jonas, tell a lone country minister what 
you and your friends have come forth for to 
seek." 

Mr. Jonas, nothing loath, leaned his elbows 
on the table, as was his habit, and looked 
round the company. "I'm glad to 'ave the 
chance," he said, "more especially as we've 
been playing round so many subjects without 
settling anything. I'm not one that thinks 
any reform is a simple job, but it's my busi- 
ness to study the people and I can tell you 
what they mean to 'ave in some form or 
other." 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 149 

"Mean to have?" queried Mr. Macmillan. 

" Yes, mean to 'ave. That is n't a threat, 
because we know we 've right on our side and 
can convince any honest man. ... I'll put it 
this way. We've 'ad a great war, and it's 
been a war of the rank and file. We 'ave n't 
'ad any Napoleon playing skittles with the 
enemy because of his pecuhar genius. We've 
'ad good generals, but the folk that did the 
job were just the ordinary British soldiers 
out of every class and calling. The war's been 
a glorification of the average man." 

"I agree," said Mr. Macmillan, "provided 
you admit he is n't only the working-man." 

"True enough, but the workers 'ave the 
biggest numbers and therefore they 'ave a 
big claim to be 'card. They want to know 
what the war has been fought for. They've 
been defending England, but England's got 
to be worth their while to defend. They've 
cleaned up Prussianism abroad, and they 
are n't coming back to it at 'ome. They want 
a bigger share of England — more leisure, 
more chances, better wages, and a better Hfe." 



150 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"You are aware," said Sir William Jacob, 
*'tliat, according to a recent calculation, 
seventy-five per cent of the total product of 
our wealth is distributed among the workers." 

"I am aware, and it does n't alter the argu- 
ment. I am not wanting a levelling down of 
incomes all round, for I know very well that 
it would only give each man a shilling or two 
more. What we are asking for is a better sys- 
tem. You*re not getting the best value out of 
men as things stand now. We want far more 
production, but you won't 'ave it by merely 
begging the men to work 'arder. We want a 
new deal. There would be no limitation of 
output, no stupid Union restrictions, if every 
man had a direct interest in the thing and 
knew he wasn't slaving to fill idle men's 
pockets." 

"I don't beheve in profit-sharing," said 
Lady Sevenoaks. "My father tried it and it 
led to endless bickering and suspicion." 

"No more do I," said Mr. Jonas; "not the 
ordinary kind. The working-man wants to 
know 'ow the profits are arrived at and to 'ave 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 151 

a say himself in the distribution. To dole out 
a few 'alf pence extra and ask him to be grate- 
ful for them is just Prussianism. To tell him 
to trust his employer who knows the business 
better than 'im is also Prussianism. He is not 
going to 'ave any of it, and I '11 tell you why. 
Because the war 'as made him conscious for 
the first time that he is a free man. 

"I'll put it this way," he continued. 
*' There are just the three things in industry 
— capital, management, and labour. Capital 
is necessary, but not in the same way as the 
others. It's like the lubricating oil in a ma- 
chine. We need it and we must buy it at a fair 
price. I am for giving capital an honest return 
and a safe return. Beyond that I 'd divide the 
profits between labour and management. . . . 
Now, mark this. Labour has an uncommon 
good notion of the real expert and it is n't 
likely to stint him. It knows that good man- 
agement is life and death to it and it will pay 
a big price for it. But it wants to know at the 
same time that the money is n't being wasted 
in order to let some fat old Jew keep ten motor 



152 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

cars. . . . Now, if you cut down the lifeless 
material thing, capital, to its fair price and 
give the sporting chance of profits to the liv- 
ing things, management and labour, and let 
labour also have a say in its management, 
you'll do two things. You'll lay suspicion, 
which is always 'alf the trouble, and you'll 
give the working-man an incentive to put his 
back into his job, for he'll know that he is 
earning profits only for himself and his nom- 
inees." 

Christopher Normand approved. 

"But how are you going to work nation- 
alisation into a scheme like that.''" he asked. 
*'The other day I saw in the pai>ers that 
you were clamouring to nationalise the mines 
and the railways, and, I believe, shipping 
also. You say the working-man wants the 
best management and is prepared to pay 
high for it, because he knows his own com- 
fort depends on it. But he won't be able 
to do that if his industry is nationalised. 
His managers will be Civil Service officials, 
not the best men bought in the open market. 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 153 

And lie won't have direct self-government 
in his work, for he '11 have to share his direc- 
tion of it with every Tom, Dick, and Harry 
who has a vote." 

Mr. Jonas smiled ruefully. 

"Rome was n't built in a day, Mr. Nor- 
mand. I 'm not much in love with national- 
isation. There was a time when I was young 
and callow and wanted every blessed tiling 
made a department of the State. Now I 've 
lost my confidence in any Civil Service. We 
can improve on the present one, but we'll 
never get the brains and the ginger into it 
that a private show can command. But 
nationalisation might be a good first step. 
The trouble in the other way is to know 'ow 
to begin. You want to get the smaller shops 
grouped together before you can start, and 
that would take a bit of doing. If the State 
took over a big industry, that would 'appen 
automatically, and you'd also get the ques- 
tion of the future of its capital settled right 
away. Then a little later, when we've found 
our balance, we'll take the next step." 



154 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Macmillan had been listening intently 
with a somewhat grave face. 

"You talk of machinery, Mr. Jonas, and I 
dare say you talk good sense. Heaven knows 
I don't quarrel with the things you aim at. 
We can't pick up again the ragged mantle of 
1914. But is it not possible that you think 
too much of machinery? I am a minister of 
Christ and I have another question to ask. 
The workers want more leisure, but what will 
they do with it? They want a share in the 
government of their own work, but have you 
made sure that they have the qualities for 
government? You say truly that the war was 
won by the ordinary man, but it was won 
by his spirit. If he is going to win the peace, 
you dare not forget that spirit. The finest 
machinery on earth will not save his soul." 

There was a slight hush, for the gravity of 
the minister's voice had brought some subtle 
change into the atmosphere. Then Mr. Bur- 
ford spoke. 

"The only hope for Democracy is to make 
it an aristocracy." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 155 

"That is one of the most sensible remarks 
I've ever heard," said Mr. Macmillan, as the 
party, on Colonel Lamont's advice, moved 
ont of doors into the sweet-scented night. 



IX 

In which Mr. Burford sees visions, and the Reverend Mr. 
Macmillan propounds a parable. 

The lawns, which dropped into slopes of 
heather and then into the meadows of the 
valley, lay golden under a moon three quar- 
ters full. The stream was outlined in long 
curves of light, and the sea beyond was like a 
sheet of crisped metal. The mainland hills 
were only clouds, but in the near and middle 
distances every object stood out sharp in a 
monotone of chrysoprase. Wafts of rich scents 
— hawthorn and young grass and bog-myrtle 
and pine — drifted up from below, and ever 
and again a light wind would bring the deli- 
cate saltness of the sea. Somewhere far off a 
voice was singing, and a curlew cried from the 
hill pastures. 

"This is magic," said Mrs. Aspenden, as 
she sank into one of the wicker chairs placed 
on the promontory of lawn below the terrace. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 157 

*'This is the true Island of Sheep. I could 
believe it was Tir-nan-og itself." 

Mr. Burford had taken off his spectacles, 
and by a common impulse the eyes of the 
party were fixed on him. He had spoken little 
since his arrival, but had greatly endeared 
himself to everybody, and Mrs. Lavender 
hushed Lady Sevenoaks, who was about to 
question Mrs. Aspenden. Lady Sevenoaks 
cordially detested Celtic mysticism. 

"We want to hear what you have to say, 
Mr. Burford," said Mr. Macmillan. "If you 
folk cannot carry us beyond machinery you 
have nothing to give us. I know little of eco- 
nomics, but one thing I know. I am a son of a 
crofter, I was long a minister in city slums, 
I am a little of a scholar, and I have served for 
years with my fellows under the shadow of 
death. I claim therefore to know something 
of the human heart. Believe me, man will 
never live by bread alone. If we are to make 
this earth of ours a better habitation we must 
first purify our spirit." Looking round, he 
quoted some lines of Coleridge: 



158 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

"Would we aught behold of higher worth 
Than the inanimate cold world allowed 
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd. 
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth 
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud 
Enveloping the earth." 

Mr. Burford spoke — rather slowly at first, 
like one without dogma and feehng vaguely 
towards truth. BUs soft pleasant burr intensi- 
fied his air of hesitation. 

"I think we are at the crossroads," he said. 
"I agree with all that Dan says about what 
the people want. But I think they are asking 
too little. They must have more, and if they 
do not get the one thing more they have got 
nothing. I ask for the workers something far 
bigger than ordinary wages and power. I 
want them to have the wages of the spirit and 
power over their own souls. 

"This is the way I look at it," he went on. 
"Every industry is asking for a fresh deal and 
each has a certain amount of right on its side. 
The miners have their claims, and the railway 
men, and so forth, and they make it a point 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 159 

of honour to carry them intact. That would 
be well enough if the whole country were 
miners or railway men, and if a careful 
Heaven had provided a safe market for the 
results of their work. But presently other 
industries will get anxious and follow their 
example, and each will be able to make out a 
good case for itself — if it stood alone. But 
the sum of these good cases is a bad case. Coal 
becomes too dear and freights too high for 
other industries to work at a profit; the cost 
of living soars up, so that the men who have 
got what they ask find that it does n't give 
them what they expected, and they ask more. 
Then the whole economic fabric cracks, for 
the different parts of it have forgotten their 
interdependence, and the result is ruin." 

"It needn't be that, Jimmie," said Mr. 
Jonas, "if they'll 'ave common sense." 

" Yes, common sense. A sense of community. 
And that means that each man has to let 
live as well as Hve, and think of others than 
himself and his fellow unionists. He must take 
the big view as a citizen. How are you going 



160 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

to get that, Dan? . . . Let me put it in an- 
other way. Supposing this competition in de- 
mands did n't knock the bottom out of our 
wealth, it would still be an accursed thing. 
What are they demanding? You say, the 
means to a better life. But what kind of a 
better life is a man to have if he thinks only 
of making tight bargains? He learns to have 
no pride in his craft, and no care for it except 
its cash value. He has more leisure, but he is 
a poorer creature than he was before, and he 
has nothing to fill his leisure with. He has 
more money, but no better things to spend it 
on. Why, man, if you improve his material 
condition without giving him something to 
work towards, his latter end will be worse 
than the beginning. You are sending him with 
a shove down the road to savagery. ... At 
any cost you must give him the larger view, 
if he is to make anything of the victory he 
wins.'* 

Mr. Burford had lost his shyness and his 
voice held the little group in the moonlight. 

"Look at the war," he said. "There the 



TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 161 

workers of Britain took the larger view. They 
did n't believe the lie that patriotism mat- 
tered nothing to them, and that they would 
be as well off under the Kaiser. They did n't 
fight for themselves only, but for the little 
nations that were being butchered. And when 
they fought for themselves it was for the 
greatness in them. They had a bad enough 
time in the real England, but they were willing 
to fight for an ideal England that the dullest 
reverenced. They knew, though they never 
said it, that any pride of manhood that was 
left to them, any liberty, any hope, could be 
preserved only by sacrifice. And they made 
the sacrifice. . . . What we have to learn is 
that the war is not over and never will be 
over, and that no victory can be maintained 
except by sacrifice. Every man and woman in 
this land must learn it." 

"I think I see," said Phyllis softly. "We 
must give ourselves to peace as whole-heart- 
edly as we gave ourselves to war. In the war 
the unhappy, restless people were the profit- 
eers and embusques and pacifists, not the First 



162 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and Second Hundred Thousand. Now our 
pessimists are those who accept change, but 
won't face up to paying the price." 

"I hope that some of us do," said Lady 
Guidwilhe. "I am old and I haven't much 
left to care for, but they can have it all if it's 
going to prevent the war being fought in vain. 
I think that is true of my class." 

The word annoyed Mr. Wyper, and he 
asked, "What class?" He was told, "Old- 
fashioned women who have no boys left," in 
a tone so gentle that he regretted having 
spoken. 

"Nearly all my pals have been killed," said 
Mr. Maldwin. "It's a pretty empty world 
nowadays, and there's nothing for fellows 
like me to do except to make the best of what 
remains. That 's what we 've been spared from 
the Boche bullets for. I'd be glad to chuck 
everything I have into the common stock if it 
would help the cause my pals died for. But 
we are puzzled, Mr. Burford. We want to 
help, and here come the Labour men with a 
big stick shouting that they are masters and 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 163 

are going to have what they jolly well ask. 
That's bad business, just when we ought to 
get together and hammer out a decent plan." 

**Ah, you misunderstand them," said Mr. 
Burford. "They're only puzzled like you. 
The ordinary man is a left-handed chap and 
he's apt to have left-handed leaders. The 
man who roars about his rights does n't mean 
that he wants to trample on everybody else's. 
He only roars loud to get a hearing. Don't 
you believe that the idealism we saw in the 
war is dead in peace. I know the working-man 
better than his Union officials — better than 
you, Dan. He's a bigger chap than the men 
that claim to speak for him. He's sane and 
he's just, and, if you give him half a chance, 
he has imagination. Why, the Englishman 
has far more j)oetry in him than the Celt, 
only he has n't got it at the end of his tongue. 
You must dig deep down to find it. And he's 
got more humour than any race on earth, and 
that will be his salvation." 

*' Humour! yes," said Mr. Normand; and 
he quoted as if to himself the words of Burke, 



164 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

*'The ancient and inbred integrity, honesty, 
good-nature, and good-humour of the people 
of England." 

"He hasn't had many chances," Mr. Bur- 
ford went on. "And now he wants to have 
every chance that 's going. He wants to come 
into his heritage — all of it. We have to keep 
him up to that, and, like in the fairy tale, 
to see that he does n't get the jewels without 
the eye-salve. Thank God, at the bottom of 
his heart he wants the best things. You folk, 
to whom books have been a commonplace 
ever since you can remember, and who have 
had your education provided for you like 
regular meals, don't know the hunger in poor 
men for these despised privileges. There's 
only one key to all our problems to-day, and 
that is to give the workers the same treasures 
of knowledge that hitherto have belonged 
only to the few. Then you will make our 
Democracy safe for the world, for you will 
have made it an aristocracy." 

Mr. Macmillan nodded. "Right," he said; 
"but don't let us forget what Dr. Johnson 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 165 

said about education in Scotland. He said it 
was like the ration of food in a beleaguered 
city — everybody had a little, but nobody 
had enough to make a square meal." 

"It's a square meal we're going to give," 
said Mr. Burford. "He won't be content with 
less. Bless him for his exorbitant demands. 
We have to train him to take the long view 
and to have the means of making out of better 
economic conditions a better life. We have 
to train him to govern himself and his indus- 
try, and to produce leaders that can lead and 
ministers that can administer. In a year or 
two most likely there will be a Labour Gov- 
ernment in power, and .we have to make cer- 
tain that it will be a wise Government. I 
think all that can be done, because the 
worker is going to meet you halfway. Aye, 
and more than halfway. You see, at bottom 
he is very humble. You remember Bunyan, 
*I have known many labouring men that 
have got good estates in this Valley of Hu- 
miliation.' . . . You don't know the rare 
material there is in this old country. I have 



166 TEE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

been up and down among ordinary folk for 
years, and I can tell what is in their hearts. 
There was a time when they cried for noth- 
ing but education in economics, because they 
were still feeling their way to the first stage in 
a new life. But they are past that now. They 
don't want only to breed Labour leaders with 
a smattering of political economy, for they 
have begun to put that science in its proper 
place in the scheme of things. And they don't 
want only technical education to help them 
to a better-paid job. They leave that cry to 
the Chambers of Commerce and the employ- 
ers. They want nothing less than the whole 
treasure-house of knowledge, everything that 
makes what we call an educated man. 

*'I tell you" — and the speaker's voice 
warmed — *'I tell you that I have known 
poor men who spent their evenings with 
Plato and their scanty holidays with the 
great poets. There's a thirst abroad, a divine 
thirst, and the quenching of it is the finest 
task before us. Give the worker all the tech- 
nical training he wants, but don't deny him 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 167 

the humanities, for without them he can never 
be a citizen. . . . Think of what you can make 
of him. Not culture in the trashy sense, but 
the wise mind and the keen spirit. He Hves 
close to reahty, so you need n't fear that he 
will become a pedant. You will make your 
academies better places, for you will let the 
winds of the world blow through them when 
you open them to the Many instead of the 
Few, and you will make a great nation, for 
the Many will be also the Best." 

"You will get," said Mr. Normand, "what 
Falkland described, *a College situate in a 
purer air.'" 

"I'm not dreaming," said Mr. Burford. 
"I 'm an optimist because I know my country- 
men and believe in them most mightily. It's 
because they ask such a lot that there's good 
hope. We are always telling each other what 
is the lesson of the war. As I see it, it is the 
folly of arrogance. We've beaten it in our 
enemies, and now we 've got to conquer it — 
every kind of it — in ourselves. We want 
humility in every soul, and humility can 



168 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

come only from understanding. A man will 
not talk folly if he has a sense of the wisdom 
of the past, and he will not push his own 
claims too far if he reahses that he is part 
of the great commonwealth of mankind. 
Knowledge makes humility, and without 
humility there can be no true humanity." 

Mr. Burford ceased, and for a little silence 
reigned. His words seemed in harmony with 
the dusky, scented world and the shining 
spaces of the sky. Past seemed in that mo- 
ment to mingle with present, the memories 
of the war with the traditions of immemorial 
ages, and behind all moved the kindly forces 
of earth which daily re-create the Hfe of man. 
Then Mr. Macmillan spoke. 

*'I have got the answer I hoped for. It is a 
great and noble prospect, but it wants much 
girding of the loins." 

He got up from his chair and looked over 
the glen. "For your comfort I will tell you a 
story — a story that belongs to this place 
and the folk that once lived here. Among the 
old Gods of the North the most beautiful was 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 169 

Balder, the Life-Giver, who brought morn- 
ing after night and spring after winter and 
quickened joy in youth and hope in the old. 
But the day came when he was pierced by 
the dart of his brother Darkness, and went 
down to the House of Hel far below the earth. 
The whole world sorrowed for his loss. It tried 
to bring him back by its tears, and every liv- 
ing and lifeless thing in earth and heaven, 
from the High Gods to the stones and trees, 
wept for Balder. But he did not come back. 
Yet, said the tale, some day he would return. 
Some day twilight would fall on Walhalla, 
and the proud Gods would be destroyed in 
their last great fight. They were fine Gods in 
Walhalla, but they were proud and violent 
Gods with the passions of their kind. Then 
would come the Deluge, and from chaos a 
new earth would arise, washed clean of pride. 
And Balder, the Life-Giver, would come 
again from the House of Death to reign over 
a regenerate world. ... I wonder if that may 
be our case. We have long been trying to 
bring Balder back by our tears, but they 



170 THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

were only tears of sentiment, and arrogance 
still ruled our hearts. Now we have passed 
through our Ragnarok and the old pride has 
fallen. Perhaps the day is near when Balder 
will wake from his sleep." 

He broke off suddenly. "Lamont," he cried, 
"there's a monstrous great fish rising in the 
Cow Pool. Let's go and look at him. Where's 
Burford.?" 

Mrs. Lamont answered. *'I think he has 
gone for a walk with PhylUs in the garden." 



THE END 



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
U . S . A